Lilly is young, pretty and has a lovely voice. She lives in a
stately villa in Berlin with her
father, Herr Strauss, a prosperous banker held in high esteem by the upper
circles of the
Peter, a brillant officer, is madly in love with her, but she prefers Karl,
a musician and composer who dares to disagree with his country's ambitions
of conquest. Both rivals
are present at the party celebrating her 20th birthday which is interrupted
– the date is
September 3, 1939 – by the announcement that Germany is now at war with
Peter joins his unit at once. Karl, too, enlists, rather reluctantly, and
Lilly rewards him
with a few hours of passionate love-making.
To do her part in the war effort Lilly entertains first in army hospitals,
then in a nightclub reserved for high-ranking officers. In a revealing
costume she sings nightly on a stage decorated with swastica banners.
Before long, her voice, singing her theme song –
composed for her by Karl as her birthday gift – is broadcast over the army
all frontlines to lift the morale of the troops.
Karl listens to it in the North-African desert, before being gravely
wounded in a surprise
attack by the British.
But Lilly wants to do more and enlists in a woman auxiliary corps headed
The train carrying the girl volunteers is bombed and ambushed by partisans.
Herr Strauss divides his lonely hours between listening to army news
drinking at a bar whose owner, Lena, has often been his confidente. And he
is dismayed witnessing her arrest and the closing of her bar has being
At the Eastern front, Lilly learns that Peter is dying at a nearby
hospital. She rushes to
his bedside and fulfilling his lifelong wish, marries him. Minutes later he
Karl recovered from his wounds is now in charge of a platoon fighting
BERLIN, 1945. The war is over. Berlin lies in ruins.
Herr Strauss, now a tired old man, goes to the nightclub where Lilly is
But at the sight of his daughter, again in her revealing costume on the
decorated with flags of Allied nations, and singing to an audience of
officers, Strauss turns and walks away into the rubble-filled streets of
what used to
be his Berlin?