This German two-parter tells an interesting story about Ursula Heye and her life before, during, and after World War 2. A typist and free-time piano player, she meets her big love Wolfgang, an opera singer. They witness the rise of Nazi terror and the persecution of Jews, but feel powerless to do anything. Wolfgang is conscripted into the German army, wounded, deserts and is sentenced to prison, all while Ursula tries to make a living while staying at her parents' house. Her relation with her mother is strained, and it doesn't improve when her brother is killed in Stalingrad. Back in the army, Wolfgang deserts a second time, and ends up in a penal battalion. Ursula has the opportunity to be evacuated on the passenger liner M/S Wilhelm Gustloff, but decides to stay as her son cannot swim. The ship is sunk a few days later, the biggest maritime catastrophe in history... When the war ends, Ursula ends up in the Soviet zone. Her search for Wolfgang ends when she learns that he was reported killed on the Eastern front. A widow and mother of two, she tries to adjust to life under the Communists, but her outspokenness marks her as politically unreliable. Together with her friend Norah, she manages to flee to West Germany. Some years later, she learns that Wolfgang might have survived the war after all...
Based on the memoirs by Uwe-Karsten Heye, the son of Ursula and Wolfgang, the miniseries tells a story that was probably rather common, but which hasn't been told to any great extent, at least not outside of Germany. There are no apologetics involved; Ursula herself admits on a couple of occasions that the Germans had themselves to blame. Her choices are seldom easy, and show that while one can hold lofty ideals, it isn't easy to survive without making compromises. The series is well worth watching, not least as a reminder that freedom is something precious that shouldn't be taken for granted.
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