During World War II, a three-year-old boy is found wandering alone in Germany. No family can be traced, and it is presumed that his parents and siblings have been casualties of war. The child is placed in an orphanage, from where he is subsequently adopted by a childless couple, whom he grows to love and accept as his parents. When the boy is 10 years old, his natural mother is found alive in Yugoslavia where she has survived the war as a refugee. She returns to Germany to claim her child, having lost her husband and two other children in the war. The film focuses on the moral dilemma of the situation: should the child remain with the adoptive parents who have given him a loving and happy home, or be returned to his natural mother who has lost everything else, and to what extent should the child's own wishes be taken into account? The case is finally referred to a three-man court, who will decide the child's future. As in the true story on which the film is based, he is returned to his biological mother.