Gamaliel Friedman is only a child when his family flees Czechoslovakia in 1939 for the relative safety of Hungary. For him, it will be the beginning of a life of rootlessness, disguise, and longing. Five years later, in desperation, Gamaliel’s parents entrust him to a young Christian cabaret singer named Ilonka. With his Jewish identity hidden, Gamaliel survives the war. But in 1956, to escape the stranglehold of communism, he leaves Budapest after painfully parting from Ilonka.