Under Hitler’s rule, 30,000 soldiers from the German army, the Wehrmacht, were condemned to death as objectors or deserters. 20,000 were executed. Those who were pardoned were sent to “punishment battalions” on the Eastern Front. 4,000 returned from the war.
Today, fewer than 300 former deserters still live in Germany.
This film tells the story of several of these men during and especially after the war, when, in West German society, they were stigmatised by a criminal record and seen as "traitors" and "cowards" until the 1980s.
Why did this climate of opprobrium last so long? What problems did they meet trying to achieve across-the-board rehabilitation? Who were their opponents and why, in 2002, was it still a subject of fierce debate in the Bundestag?
Their story is also the story of post-war Germany and its confrontation with the past.