Elfi Lee is born in 1940 and lives a picture-perfect life on a quiet acreage in eastern Germany. She delights in heading to the forest with her mother, Mutti, who sings hymns as the two gather boysenberries in a basket. Free to roam on the farm, four-year-old Elfi is adventurous and dreams only of exploring more each day. As 1944 draws to a close, shadows of war creep onto the acreage. Mutti and Elfi encounter a Russian soldier on their property, her father is drafted into the Germany army, and rumors rage of an approaching enemy. On a snowy day in January 1945, as artillery fires in the distance, Elfi flees with her family to escape the advancing Red Army. They board a train headed west, destination unknown.