The refugees stop for the night in a deserted barn. Joana, a nurse, does her best to treat the wounded, but she notes, “I had no treatment for what plagued people the most. Fear.” For the past four years both the Soviet and German forces have “committed unspeakable atrocities, not only against each other, but against innocent civilians.” The Soviets targeted the people of Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic region, whereas Hitler rounded up a growing list of those he deemed “undesirable.”
Joana, haunted by her own secret guilt, does her best to ease the suffering of others. She understands that war causes suffering to all people, however a person’s racial, ethnic, or religious background affects which armies an individual must fear the most.
Joana thinks back to her training as a nurse. Medicine had been her dream, and she continues to use her expertise to help those she can. As she thinks she looks up to see Florian and Emilia enter the barn.
Joana’s compulsion to help others is partially motivated by her survivor’s guilt. As someone who has managed to escape tragedy, she feels it is her duty to help others stricken by tragedy.