In Chernobyl’s forbidden zone, only those live who have nowhere else to go – or those who have to hide. There, Valentina is waiting for her daughter to return from Germany, where she has gone because she was apparently offered a university stipend – but Valentina has not heard anything from her for months, and many other students with the same story have also disappeared.
To counter the frozen winter and brutal waiting, and to keep hope, Valentina begins to write down the story of her life.
Meanwhile, in Germany, Martin Lessmann is hiding a young Eastern European woman from her pursuers. When, shortly thereafter, she slits her wrists, he saves her life again – and makes a terrible discovery.