In 1929, the 9 year old Polish Jew Marcel Reich-Ranicki is sent by his artistic mother to Berlin to study. Marcel loves the German literature and music, but in October 1938 the Nazis deport him to Poland. After the German invasion of Poland, Marcel tries to survive in the ghetto of Warschau. In 1942 his parents and brother are deported and exterminated in Treblinka, but Marcel and his wife Tosia can hide with a friendly Polish couple till in 1944 the Russian army liberates them. A civil servant in postwar communist Poland, Marcel falls in disgrace in 1949. In 1958 he flees to Germany, where in Frankfurt he will become a distinguished literary critic for the FAZ.