The 13-year-old Ernst Lossa (Ivo Pietzcker) lives at the time of the Nazi dictatorship in southern Germany. Since he has to live as a half-whore and a son of a driving trader somewhere, but does not want to adapt to any structures, he has been sent from one nursery to the next, always on the grounds that he is not educable. Now his path leads him to a mental hospital, which is a prison for children and adolescents under the direction of Dr. Veithausen (Sebastian Koch). He quickly remarks that children who are particularly difficult to train are systematically brought to them by taking away all nutrients in the food. His fight for his fellow patients against the authorities quickly becomes a threat to all parties, so he plans a breakout together with the inmate Nandl (Jule Herrmann), in which he has fallen in love. But no one is safe from the dangers of war and systematic killing.