The action takes place in France in 1942. Pre-trial detention. Several men and a boy of fifteen are sitting on the bench, anxiety and fear are on their faces, all of them were seized right on the street and German soldiers were brought here. Detainees are lost in conjecture – what is it, checking documents or something worse? The artist Lebo directly measured the nose on the street. Catch the Jews? He himself assumes that all of them, most likely, will be sent to forced labor in Germany. Worker Bayar heard that the last time in Toulouse, raids on Jews. And what happens to them afterwards? Send to the concentration camp?
Actor Monso, a cheerful young man, shakes his head in disbelief. What does the concentration camp have to do with it? A lot of people go to work in Germany voluntarily – everyone gets a double ration. But Bayar shakes his head: the cars with people are locked up, there stinks the stink – the volunteers do not lock it up like that.
a well-dressed businessman, keeps squeamishly, does not take part in a general conversation, and often glances at his watch. Seeing in the corridor the major and Professor Hoffmann, he declares that he must enter the office first, because he is in a hurry to the Ministry of Supply. He is allowed to do this.
The discussion resumes. The easy-going Monceau still draws bright prospects: his cousin was sent to Auschwitz, and he writes that he is very pleased, he was even taught to lay bricks. Bayar frowns: the fascists can not be trusted, it is better not to deal with them at all.
Among the detainees are Prince von Berg. This causes confusion in everyone, especially the psychiatrist Ledyuk. Tom always thought that the aristocracy supported any reactionary regime. Von Berg calmly explains to him that, of course, some support, but many cherish the name, family and do not want to embarrass them with collaboration. fascism – the greatest explosion of rudeness, and at least therefore can not find allies among these aristocrats. Refined people can not persecute Jews, turn Europe into jail.
The door of
the cabinet opens, from there comes out, backing up, Marchand, he holds a pass in his hand. The detainees were filled with hope – in fact Marchan was clearly a Jew, but he was still released.
Monso advises everyone to stick more confidently, not to look like a victim – the fascists have a special scent for the doomed. You must make them believe that you are not an outcast.
But the Marxist Bayar believes that adapting, dodging – is shameful. The accursed bourgeoisie sold France, admitted the fascists, wishing to destroy the French working class. To feel strong, one must rely on an advanced communist ideology.
Ledyuk tries to argue with Bayar: can ideology help when you are tortured, cause physical pain? And von Berg, opening his eyes wide, asks directly: are not most of the fascists working? Aristocrat, unlike Bayar, relies on personality – only a strong personality can not be stupefied with a false idea.
Called after Marshan Bayar and the waiter do not return back. Among the detainees is a rumor that in the office everyone is forced to lower his trousers – check whether it is not circumcised, and if you are a Jew, they are sent to a concentration camp and burned in an oven.
Resolute Ledyuk proposes to try to escape, he is supported by Lebo and the boy, whom his mother sent, to lay a wedding ring in the pawnshop.
The procedure for checking documents and subsequent inspection is carried out by the major, captain and professor. The captain and professor are complete anti-Semites, and they have no doubts about the correctness of their actions. Major is a beginner in this business, he has just arrived from the front, and he is clearly shocked by what he is going through. Realizing that the detainees planned an escape, he warned Ledyuk that they were guarded not by one watch, as they supposed, but there was also an armed guard on the street.
People gradually, one after another, disappear behind the doors of the office. Only Leduc and von Berg remain in the cell. The latter is trying to dispel the total pessimism of the psychiatrist – not all people are bad, there are a lot of really decent people in the world. Ledyuk, not doubting the personal integrity of the aristocrat, I am sure that he can not but rejoice that the fascists will release him, having made sure of the error. This statement deeply wound von Berg. He himself feels disgust even for domestic anti-Semitism, and when he was arrested in Austria by three musicians from his own orchestra and, as he later found out, destroyed, von Berg was close to suicide.
Ledyuk asks the prince to inform his family what happened to him. They had a reliable shelter, but his wife’s teeth were very bad, so he went to the city for a medicine, and then they seized him. The background is summoned to the office by Berg and almost immediately released, giving a pass, which the aristocrat gives without hesitation to Ledyuk. Today’s experience taught von Berg: that conscience was calm, little empathy, feel guilty, you must act, do things. Ledyuk hesitates only a moment, then, taking a pass from von Berg, disappears in the corridor.
The door opens, the professor comes out. He calls the next one, but when he sees the background of Berg sitting motionless on the bench and looking into the void, he understands everything and raises the alarm. Four new people appear at the end of the corridor-the new prisoners. They are chased by detectives. Arrested enter the cell and sit on the bench, looking at the ceiling and walls. They still have everything ahead of them.