When Michael Berg was 15 years old, he met a woman, which is then remembered all his life. It was Hanna Schmitz-beauty 36 years, offered him help when Michael became ill with scarlet fever. Thankful for salvation, the young man meets with Hannah, and between them breaks out a short-term affair. Michael often visits his adult mistress, from time to time by reading her books, but once Hannah disappears from his life so suddenly, as entered into it: once again climbing toward her, the young man discovers an empty apartment.
Eight years later, Michael and Hanna met again, but not as like Michael. As a law student, he went to a show trial in court, where he saw with horror among defendants Hannu accused that she worked in Auschwitz and was a murderer of Jewish women. But what is in fact a measure of guilt of Hannah, should she be punished now, and if you should, how?