Joseph Balinki was confined in a prisoner of war camp in Zakyna by the Nazis for turning a picture of Hitler to the wall during a scripture lesson. Zakyna was in the mountains of South Poland. In Chapter One he escapes by knocking out a Nazi guard and stealing his clothes. He walks out of the prison camp as one of the guards.
Chapter two opens with Joseph walking through the village. He is challenged by a drunken German soldier who wants a cigarette. Joseph ignores him and keeps walking. He starts to run and the German runs after him. As he reaches the edge of the village, he notices a mail truck. Joseph dives behind a wall of snow and waits. He jumps in a crate without wheels and hides. Crates are loaded on top of him and around him and covered with a tarpaulin ---- a heavy cloth. He then feels the crate moving. He lifts back the tarpaulin and finds that he is in a type of cable car made with pulleys; its purpose is to transport mail and luggage from one side of the steep valley to another. Suddenly the cable car stops, and he is headed back to the road where he started. When it stops, he hears men put on another crate. It banged against his foot, causing pain, but he kept his mouth shut. Then the cable car started off again and in a few minutes, the balance lift, which is the descending car which balances the weight of the car he is in, was seen gliding past. That meant that he was halfway there. He didn't know if there were soldiers on the other side. He didn't have a weapon, and he knew that there was no way he was going to escape detection. So, he threw back the tarpaulin and waited for the cable car to come to the end of the trip.