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Germany, 1945. World War II is nearing its climactic end. Five-year-old Sophie and her parents are refugees fleeing from the advancing Red Army. They hide in a hotel, where they encounter Nazi officer Scharf and Hitler Youth member Beckmann. As the Russians come closer, Sophie falls into a lift and is knocked unconscious. Meanwhile, Scharf accidentally kills Sophie’s mother and Wassily, a paratrooper, kills her father. Time passes and teenage Sophie works for Soviet soldiers as a kitchen maid in the hotel. Food sometimes disappears, but Sophie finds the culprit: Beckmann, who has been hiding in a corridor beneath the hotel since the war ended. As an adult, Sophie reluctantly marries Wassily and develops a relationship with Beckmann. Decades go by; the Russians leave and Scharf takes over the hotel. Sophie convinces Beckmann to leave, and the pair head for the North Sea, turning their backs on the hotel and its memories.