In a german concentration camp a Hungarian deportee is selected to work as servant in the luxurious billet of Commander August Dailermann, a high-rank nazi officer. When the Hungarian jew enters the house, he risks his life to convince the Commander to save from destruction some works of art by Dix and Kokotschka. As he's a person of remarkable culture with fine and wise eloquence, the Hungarian servant also persuades Frnziska- Commander's wife - to be portrayed by some painters deported in the camp; that gives him the opportunity to carry on a strategy to save as many lives as possible. The strategy seems to be successful when Dailermann, who loves opera music very much, decides to select the deportes in order to have a personal orchestra at his domicile. The servant's purpose fails when Commander Dailermann is removed from the camp: then Franziska decides to erase any remember about the extermination while her husband August gains awareness of the cultural value of the exterminated race. He'll be tormented by qualms of coscience for the rest of his life, up to his death. The story begins in the present days, once August is dead in Argentina, when his son decides to return the work of art by Kokotschka to Israel.