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An aging Jewish doctor is forbidden to practice medicine in Prague during the Nazi Occupation. He is employed in a warehouse as a clerk, cataloguing confiscated Jewish property. When a partisan is wounded, the doctor reluctantly agrees to treat him. The doctor hides him in his run-down apartment building as he sneaks through the black-market underworld of Prague in search of morphine to ease the man's pain, ever fearful of informant neighbors and vigilant authorities. Within an historical context, director Zynek Brynych creates a thinly disguised allegory about contemporary communist Czechoslovakia that is rich in atmosphere and dark in tone.