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In 1940, the Muller family, German-born Kurt, his American wife Sara and their three children, Joshua, Babette and Bodo, the youngest, cross the Mexican border into the United States to visit Sara's family. In Washington, D.C., Sara's arrival is eagerly awaited by her brother, David Farrelly, her mother Fanny, family friend Anise and their house guests, Rumanian count Teck de Brancovis and his American wife Marthe. Sara has not seen her family for seventeen years, during which time Kurt, a former engineer, has responded to the Nazi threat in Europe by actively engaging in anti-Fascist work. Prompted by Fanny's questions to Kurt, Sara explains his work and adds that they have come to the United States so that Kurt can have a much-needed rest in safety. Kurt's safety is illusory, however, because the opportunistic Teck has been currying favor with the Germans in Washington. When Marthe refuses to question David, with whom she has fallen in love, about Kurt, Teck searches the Mullers' room and finds a locked briefcase containing a gun and some money. Shortly after Sara discovers the broken lock on the briefcase, the Mullers learn about the arrest of resistance worker Max Freidech. Later, after Teck and Marthe leave for dinner at the German embassy, Sara tells Fanny and David that she and Kurt are carrying money to aid the underground in Germany. She adds that because Max once saved Kurt from the Gestapo, Kurt will now return to Germany to try to save Max and the other people arrested with him. Later, Kurt turns down Joshua's offer to accompany him to Germany, explaining that his time will come when he is older. Upon their return from the embasy, Marthe denounces her husband and reveals that she is leaving him. Realizing that Kurt will be in great danger if the Nazis know that he is returning to Germany, Teck demands $10,000 for his silence. After Kurt summarily refuses him, David and Fanny agree to pay him off. While they are out of the room, however, Kurt pulls a gun on Teck and takes him outside, where he kills him. When Fanny and David return, Kurt explains his actions and asks them for two days to make his getaway. With a new understanding of the dangers Kurt faces, Fanny and David agree to help and give him the money they would have given Teck. Some time later, when no word has come from Kurt, Joshua declares his intention to search for his father after his next birthday, when he will turn eighteen. Although Sara is distressed by the thought of losing her son as well as her husband, she admits that when the time comes, she will do her best to be brave.