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This engaging summary presents an analysis of Reunion by Fred Uhlman, which begins its story in pre-war Germany and developing against the background of Hitler’s rise to power. It tells the story of two teenagers, Hans and Conrad, whose profound friendship is pulled apart by the Nazi regime and its toxic ideas. The heartbreaking novella explores the nature of friendship and the humanity in the face of atrocity. It is Uhlman's most famous work, earning him critical acclaim thanks to its realistic portrayal of a childhood living under Hitler's regime.
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Fred Uhlman was born in Germany in 1901, to a non-practicing Jewish family. In his early teens, the First World War broke out and, with it, came the metaphysical crisis of the author. Already disillusioned by religion, he also became disillusioned by his country.
After studying law, Uhlman established himself as a lawyer. But tensions between Nazis and Communists multiplied, anti-Semitism grew and, in 1933, Hitler was elected to power. Uhlman then left Germany for Paris, before finally settling in England. From 1940, he devoted himself fully to his two passions, painting and writing. He published his autobiography The Making of an Englishman in 1960 and his novel Reunion in 1971.
Halfway between a short story and a novel, Reunion is a short narrative describing the meeting and passionate friendship between two teenagers in Germany at the end of the 1930s. The narrator, Hans, is of Jewish origin, while Conrad was born into an illustrious family of German aristocrats. Their friendship evolves and deteriorates with the rise of the Nazi regime and the resulting events in the background.
The narrative is not only a testimony of life during this period and the upheavals experienced by Jews at the time. More precisely, it is a true ode to friendship and to the romantic impulses of adolescence. Initially rejected by publishers for a long time, Reunion was published in 1971.
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