Roy Allen, an American pilot, was aboard a cattle car full of Allied POWs heading for Buchenwald, a Nazi death camp. They had no idea where they were heading, but they desperately wanted to get out of the suffocating car. Prying the floorboards loose, they began jumping and rolling under the train. But before Roy could escape, they were discovered, and soon found themselves in front of a firing squad. Then, at the last minute, the Germans lowered their guns and forced them back onto the train.
The Gestapo intended to quietly kill the POWs to leave no record of their existence at Buchenwald. But a few months after they arrived, a Luftwaffe officer visited the camp and learned about the POWs being held there illegally. Time went by, however, and weeks of starvation and being forced to sleep outside in the cold took their toll on the prisoners, some of whom became sick or died. Roy, himself near death, was moved to the camp hospital, a place usually fatal in itself. He was saved by a French doctor who kept him from being killed like many other prisoners. When Allen recovered enough to return to the main camp, the only Allied prisoners left were nine who had been sick, including Roy. The forlorn men had no idea what had happened to the others. Had they been executed?
Allen's first thought was to care for his fellow POWs who were left. He was able to obtain some soup from a prisoner who worked in the kitchen. As Roy carried it past the main guard tower, a spotlight shone, and the guards trained their guns on him, shouting for him to stop. To go back meant certain death. Going forward was not much safer, but Allen didn't miss a beat, walking on as if it was the most normal thing to be carrying a giant pot of soup past the guard tower. It worked; the guards didn't shoot! The prisoners had never tasted anything so good, and Roy's audacity gave them hope that they just might survive the war.
Then a miracle happened. The Luftwaffe officer returned, and they soon found themselves in a POW camp along with the other airmen who had been rescued earlier by the same officer. This place seemed like heaven after what they had been through. Here, Roy found some of the crew members who had been shot down with him the day he crashed into the tree. All but one had survived. Roy also received word during this time that he was now the father of a baby boy!
After wondering for so long if he would even survive, Roy could finally see the end of his long ordeal. After the POWs were shuffled around to other camps in an attempt by the Germans to keep them out of the way of the advancing American army, Germany was finally defeated, and Roy Allen was reunited with his wife and son. One thing he knew: he was grateful to be alive.