Vienna, 1624. The Jewish population loads their worldly possessions atop donkeys and wagons and move from the city to the Unteren Werd district beyond the Danube River. They set out full of courage and hope for a peaceful life in the new Jewish quarter under the protection of the Emperor. Among the group is Lena Gerstl, wife of the cloth merchant Jocham. One by one the families settle in and set up shop. Children are born and children die, the Danube floods its banks, smallpox, dropsy and a host of other viruses ravage the quarter, the Swedish take their toll. Above all, the Jewish Viennese suffer from the constant allegations and attacks by the Christian population of the city. There are cases of slander, accusations, and even a murder. Though all this is slight compared to the fate heaven has in store for them.