1937. A 17 year old German naval sub-cadet stumbles upon a gang of ruffians beating up a tramp, whose life he saves. The man is none other than spymaster Wilhelm Canaris. Canaris adopts the young man and dubs him 'Cesare'. Canaris is a man of contradictions who, while serving the regime, seeks to undermine the Nazis and helps Cesare hide Berlin's Jews. But the Nazis will lure many to Theresienstadt, a phony paradise in Czechoslovakia with sham restaurants, novelty shops, a cruel ghetto and way station to Auschwitz. When the woman Cesare loves is sent there, he must find a way to rescue her.