In 1939, Toma Ivanian, a high school student in Sofia, Bulgaria, is awarded a scholarship to the Technical University of Berlin- the world’s finest engineering and science university. Being sixteen, he doesn’t think about the war clouds about to burst around him. He’s told by a fellow Bulgarian to get his degree in the shortest time possible. One road block after another interferes with his academic progress. Discoveries during a summer internship causes him to switch majors from chemical engineering to mechanical engineering. His country of origin, Bulgaria, because of thetrial of Bulgarian communists in 1933, adds another roadblock. In September 1943, all academic obstacles to graduation have been removed. His studies are interrupted by the Royal Air Force in late November 1943. The University had sustained too much bomb damage for classes to continue. Foreign students, especially those on a full scholarship like Ivanian, have been persuaded by a Germanmilitary officer to aid Germany in its hour of need. He’s been told that Germany has had setbacks, but it will win the war. Ivanian decides to return to Bulgaria to tell his parents that he’s joining the German army. In the closing hours of the long train ride home, an SS Major sits beside him. The Major’s backs his decision, and lets others on the train car know about Ivanian’s devotion to Germany. At the Sofia station in their final minute together, the Major utters eleven life changing words to Ivanian.With the help of a former teacher, he considers his next step. If he stays in Bulgaria, he’ll be drafted into the Bulgarian army - a German ally. If he returns to Berlin he might be hired as an engineer for the Berlin Water Department. He’s told by the teacher that Soviet spies have been seen in Sofia following the unexpected death of King Boris.