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The film is based on a 1966 novel of the same name by Julian Stryjkowski, who collaborated with Kawalerowicz on the screenplay.Austeria takes place during the opening days of World War I, in the Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia. Tag, played by Franciszek Pieczka, is a Jewish innkeeper whose inn (austeria means inn in the Polish dialect) is located near the border with the Russian Empire. War has broken out and local civilians are fleeing the advancing Russian Army. A number of refugees have taken shelter in Tag's inn for the night. A group of Hasidic Jews from the neighboring village arrive, followed by an Austrian baroness, and a Hungarian hussar, cut off from his army unit.
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