Wilhelm's death sentence has been mitigated to a transfer into a punitive battalion. The Wehrmacht now needs every man. In Russia Charlotte and Wilhelm meet again - a disturbing encounter for both. Especially as Charlotte is overwhelmed by her feelings since she thought Wilhelm dead. But the war tears them asunder once more. The Red Army is now advancing on all fronts. While Friedhelm's new unit in Poland is still cracking down brutally on the partisan group Viktor is a member of Charlotte's field hospital is overrun by the Russians. Charlotte is captured by the Russians. Greta is visited in prison by her former lover and protector Dorn. Like so many others he sees the end of the NS-regime approaching and tries to save his own neck. He wants Greta to testify that he had helped her boyfriend Viktor to escape from Germany: her life in exchange for her signature. Wilhelm uses the chaos of retreat and defects from his punitive battalion. He makes his difficult and dangerous way back to Berlin. The war is on its last legs but still thousands are dying each day. Friedhelm too is sent towards the advancing Red Army with a contingent in the last days of the war. Four years previously the five friends had wanted to meet in Berlin at Christmas. Four Christmases have since passed without a reunion. A country lies in ruins. Millions of people on all sides have died a meaningless death. Those five too haven't weathered the war without losses and those who survived will never be the same again.