An unconventional friendship develops, between the leader of a concentration camp, Klaus, and the young Belgian Jew Gilles. To avoid being shot, Gilles lies in desperation that he is Persian and undertakes to teach Klaus a language he only pretends to know. Gilles is arrested by the SS along with other Jews and sent to a German concentration camp. He avoids execution by swearing to the guards that he is not Jewish, but Persian. He is recruited to teach Farsi to the camp commander. The two men develop a friendship, which causes anger and jealousy from the other prisoner and the tenant's SS guards. Gilles understands that he will not be able to keep his secret for very long.