Edith Beer starts her story by remembering a fellow nurse who illegally bought an onion to feed to a dying Russian soldier. Beer explains that she, a nurse’s aide, could have caused trouble for her fellow nurses because the Nazi regime frowned upon forming friendships with prisoners or with people who were not Nordic Aryans. Beer explains that many of the other nurses would have caused trouble for her because they bought into the propaganda, truly believing that they were better than the foreign prisoners they served.
Instead of bartering for food to give to the injured prisoners, they were more likely to steal food from the prisoners, to bring that food home so the nurses could feed their own hungry families. Most of the prisoners in Brandenburg were not actually injured in war but injured in their servitude; having been conquered, they were forced to work in factories full of industrial accidents. Beer explains that she was transferred from this ward of injured prisoners to work in the maternity ward because someone tattled on her, saying she was too friendly with the foreigners. Informers to the Gestapo were everywhere.
Before the war, Beer was a law student in Austria, but as the war grew and Germany spread, her name was put on a wanted list. To avoid persecution, she became a U-boat; a Jewish person living with a secret identity in the heart of Germany.