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 England
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 radio to 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 for the Eastern front.
The train carrying the girl volunteers is bombed and ambushed by partisans.
Herr Strauss divides his lonely hours between listening to army news bulletins, and 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 Jewish property.
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 dies.
Karl recovered from his wounds is now in charge of a platoon fighting loosing rearguard battles.
BERLIN, 1945. The war is over. Berlin lies in ruins.
Herr Strauss, now a tired old man, goes to the nightclub where Lilly is singing anew.
But at the sight of his daughter, again in her revealing costume on the stage now decorated with flags of Allied nations, and singing to an audience of victorious enemy
officers, Strauss turns and walks away into the rubble-filled streets of what used to be his Berlin?
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