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In a small German university town in 1933, a birthday celebration for Professor Viktor Roth is interrupted by the news that Hitler has been appointed chancellor. Roth, who is non-Aryan, his daughter Freya, and Martin Breitner, a family friend who loves Freya, are apprehensive about Hitler's rise, but Roth's stepsons, Otto and Erich Von Rohn, and Fritz Marberg, Freya's new fiancé, are enthusiastic. The town's Nazis soon begin to inflict violence on their ideological adversaries and on non-Aryans, and Roth's stepsons leave his house. Freya breaks with Fritz and comes to return Martin's love, but the lovers are separated when Martin, who has helped a non-Aryan friend leave the country, is stranded in Austria. For refusing to acknowledge a difference between Aryan and non-Aryan blood, Roth loses his teaching position and is interned in a concentration camp, and his family's frantic efforts to locate him result only in a brief visit before his mysterious death. On their way to Austria, Freya and Mrs. Roth are detained for carrying Roth's manuscript, and Freya is forced to stay in Germany indefinitely. Martin, however, returns for Freya and as the couple make their way through a difficult mountain pass, they are in sight of Austria when a Nazi patrol, led by Fritz, locates them. The lovers reach the border, but Freya dies shortly after from a gunshot wound incurred during the chase.