Ludwig Kaltenburg, born in 1903, Biologist, works in Posen towards the end of the 1930s. There, he meets the first-person narrator, who was still a child at this time. After the fall of the Third Reich, the boy and his parents escape to Dresden. He survives the 1945 bombing there, and begins to study ornithology, which renews his close contact with Kaltenburg. Kaltenburg can start his own institute in Dresden and garner international acclaim. How do the two academics experience the founding and consolidation of the GDR, how do their lives change, and how does the ornithologist finally experience the end of the GDR?