For 16-year-old Jan Kamienski, life as he knows it ends when Germany invades Poland on September 1, 1939. After a great deal of hardship, he joins the Polish Resistance and eventually, in 1941, is sent to Dresden, Germany, to take up Underground activities there. Armed with false papers, he works at various jobs, maintains a clandestine stopover for Allied couriers, produces Polish-language news bulletins for Poles housed in forced-labour camps, and does everything he can within the heartland of the Third Reich to sabotage the Nazis' war effort. Among Kamienksi's many horrific experiences is his survival during the terrible firebombing of Dresden in February 1945.
After the war, the author becomes a translator in East Germany for the Russian occupiers, studies at the art academy in Dresden, and eventually finds work as an artist. In 1948, after marrying a German woman, he escapes the Soviet zone, is brutally interrogated in a Polish