This is how the Danish government has arranged it with the occupying power, in order to stay in power. These are the terms under which the Danish merchant navy and its seamen sail, the voyages they sail are called tvangsruter, or forced transport and even though the ships are theoretically neutral, they are nonetheless attacked by Allied forces.

On his first visit to Bremen, Karl is responsible for the death of a Russian prisoner of war. After Karl gave him bits of food two cutlets the Russian is shot and killed by a German SS-guard. Helping prisoners is prohibited under the Nazi regime. Karl is interrogated, but avoids being sent to a concentration camp by bribing the Germans with Danish butter.

Karl is exposed to several violent episodes and is often close to getting killed during the war.