In August 1914, many young German men euphorically volunteered to join the army. But in Munich, Hans Gastl, the son of a militaristic state prosecutor, makes a decision: he won’t become a soldier or fight this war.
Germany, 1934: Hella Lindau and her fiancé Hermann Reimers are members of an anti-Nazi resistance group. When they are betrayed, Hella takes the blame and is sentenced to ten years in prison for high treason.
When his proposal for international research on infant mortality is rejected, Dr. Schmith (Armin Mueller-Stahl) decides to leave East Germany. He strikes a deal with an escape agency that promises him a leading position at a children’s hospital in West Germany.
In order to escape her narrow and restrictive life, Senta, the daughter of a rich shipowner, seeks refuge in her fantasies and dreams. In this realm of imagination, a bold and restless sea captain appears to her—the Flying Dutchman—who is cursed to wander the seas forever.