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1929. Friedrich Zawrel is born in Schiffmühlen Strasse in a working class district of Vienna. His father is an alcoholic, and although his mother tries her best to keep the family together, without any support from the state it is not long before they are evicted from their home and end up on the street. Little Friedrich Zawrel embarks upon a long and painful career in institutions: first he is placed with foster parents, then put back in a children's home, but finally the deep love he feels for his mother prompts him to run away and return to her.

Vienna, 1938. The Nazis have inflicted their ideology and their henchmen on all aspects of politics, commerce, state administration and schools.

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