The story is set in the early part of the 20th Century. The protagonist, Hanne-Liebe, leaves her home town to escape from the anti-Semitic harassment of the local community. She sets out to live in St. Petersburg with her brother Jakow, who has converted to Christianity. In St. Petersburg she meets again with her childhood friend, the student Sascha, who is active in the revolutionary movement. The demagogue Rylowitsch tells on Sascha and Hanne-Liebe. Sasha is arrested, while Hanne-Liebe is ordered back to her home town. However, the trials of Hanne-Liebe are not over, as Rylowitsch sets out to instigate a pogrom.