In 1934 Berlin on the eve of the Nazi incursion, Max, a grifter and his lover Rudy are recovering from a night of debauchery with a SA trooper. Two soldiers burst into the apartment and slit their guest's throat, beginning a nightmare odyssey through Nazi Germany. Ranked lower on the human scale than Jews, the men, as avowed homosexuals, flee. Desperate and on the run, Max asks his own "discreetly" homosexual Uncle Freddie for help as the older man offers little more than suggestions on how to live, as he does, practicing homosexuality on the side. Attempting their escape, Rudy is beaten to death as Horst, another homosexual prisoner, warns Max to deny his lover. Taken to a death camp at Dachau, Max and Horst branded with the "pink triangle", hope to survive with each other for comfort and courage.