A serious, overall picture of adolescence between two wars that delineates an integrity able to withstand brutality and lawlessness, and, eventually, find safety. Through the life of Willy Halder, of Frankfurt, from 1917 to the eve of Hitler's seizure of power, are reflected the gradual loss of liberties, the physical deprivations as inflation mounts until bankruptcy causes a complete crash, the deepening gashes in the social structure as political and military aims infiltrate through all classes, types and ages, and as the black market brings grim horror into their lives. Even in schooling, in the harmless Wandervogel, the perversion of the Youth Groups takes over; the progressive corrosion claims even the students' organizations and splits those groups trying to preserve their honest opinions; --and Willy, because of his family's sincere disbelief in the Germany emerging from these influences, as an actor, works against what he knows is wrong. Through his dying mother's determination, and the love of French Arlene, he is able to escape to Switzerland before danger reaches him. The turbulence of the political and economic situations, the upheaval of a once secure society, and the determination to fight against a recognized evil -- these make for a sincere, authentic portrait of a boy and a period.