Jonathan Safran Foer (Elijah Wood) is a Jewish writer and collector who travels to a Ukranian village to see the town where his Grandfather lived during the war. He brings a picture of his grandfather and his companion Augustine. The "tour guide" is a cranky old Ukranian who constantly patronizes Jonathan because he's Jewish and brings his grandson Alex along to translate for Jonathan.
When they arrive at the destination, there is one elderly woman left with collections (like Jonathan's) of everyone's belongings after they died or fled.
In a flashback, we learn that the grouchy tour guide lived in that very town as well and very symbolically threw down his coat with the Star of David pinned to it, then started a new life, never looking back. This memory causes him to confront his past and he commits suicide in a hotel on the way back from the city, leaving Jonathan and Alex to go home by themselves.