It is the year 1942. The Fascist government of the Slovak Republic adopts the Nuremberg laws, transferring the Jewish enterprises into the hands of well-screened Slovak citizens. Tono Brtko, a decent and industrious cabinet-maker, lives in a small town and keeps himself away from those who are now in power. His greedy wife Evelyna, however, asks her brother-in-law Markus, member of Hlinka's guards, to pull some strings for them. Tono is involuntarily appointed the so-called aryanizer of the little haberdashery of the widow Lautmannová on the main street. Dressed for the occasion, he is sent by his wife to take over the property. The very old and almost deaf Mrs Lautmannová does not perceive the world much any more and does not understand what the puzzled Tono wants from her. Brtko's acquaintance Imro Kuchár, an esteemed member of the local Jewish community, suggests to the old woman, whom he has been caring for since the death of her husband, to take Tono as a shop assistant. Imro knows that there are almost no goods left in the little shop and thus pays Tono a small amount from the community funds. Evelyna is satisfied, considering the money to be sales from the shop. Brtko becomes friends with Lautmannová and renovates her age-old furniture in the flat behind the shop. The Jewish inhabitants of the town soon begin to be summoned to the transport. Only the old widow was forgotten by the authorities. One day, the main street is crowded with people prepared for the forced departure. The desperate Brtko, paralyzed with fear, tries to prevent the old lady from going out to the main street, which is bustling with soldiers, and pushes her harshly behind the door of the cellar. The transport leaves. Brtko discovers the body of the dead Lautmannová, who killed herself falling down the stairs to the cellar, and hangs himself.

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