A Few Thoughts on Uhlman’s Reunion.

 

Reunion, a memoir of “Friendship”.

Recently contemplating a friend’s profound views on what she considers is the use of the well-known word: friendship. I could not help, and not become aware of the importance to understand its meaning. So vast in significance, and personal within each’s own range of perspective, the truest form of this idea must be a complex one to understand. A quick, superficial glimpse of what our “piece” of society deems its definition is seen by looking up the word’s etymological meaning within Google’s search engine.

Stumbling upon the following:

Old English freondscipe “friendship, mutual liking and regard,” also “conjugal love;”

The Online Etymology Dictionary’s definition is a helpful clue. It is logical, but what is mutual liking? What does it mean to be in regard of another? Conjugal love sounds also rather romantic! How confusing is all this! Whatever may be the many conclusions of this ponder, it would be interesting to comprehend what causes the definition of a word to inspire reactions so diverse from one person to another. That being said, at times it is best not go through the traditional route of logic, and live the definition in it’s most sincere form

Fred Uhlman: a man saved by friendship. 

Reunion, is a novella of less than a hundred pages written by the German painter, and lawyer named Fred Uhlman. The story starts in Stuttgart Germany, the author’s hometown, narrating a instance of life between two young boys whoes friendship begins in a period of time pre-dating World War II. Hans Schwarz, is not a typical boy, neither is his dear friend. Hans a sixteen year old from a bourgeois, Jewish family, and Konraid von Hohenfels, a young boy of the same age, deriving from important nobile origins. Ever since the first day when Konraid came to class so unique, and elegantly dressed,  Hans could not help but desire truthfully for the attention of that future friend that had captured his interest. With much effort, he was able to do so, succeeding with his quest; to find the boy to be timid similar to himself. The subjectivity of Hans consistently touching, his sensitivity guides his curosity as he tries to find out what hurtful truths lies hid behind his friend’s family.

The life of Fred Uhlman was a rough one, being a Jew in the period of the rise of Nazi Germany he was able to save himself by a call of his friend, Pazaurek, that hinted to him that it was the best moment to be in France. Escaping to Paris he found himself amognst many difficulties, the laws that regulated imigration did not allow foreigners to work. Living, and working undercovered Uhlman painted selling his art. He was able to have success despite the difficult quest to find buyers. After moving many times, including the country of Spain, in England he was exiled three years after his arrival in 1940. Sent to the Isle of Man where he spent half year with other immigrants that came from enemy countries. Uhlman was not a professional writer, and did not consider it as his career. I found the novella to be perfectly written, in a style similar to the character of the sixteen year old. Each word fluidly leading from scene to the next, each “mini chapter” where not many pages long. Expressing ha deep sense of humanity, one could not tear as they read the book. Being a short novella it took less than a half a day to read it all, it’s final being a touching one. That leaves a person pondering about the meaning friendship.

(My Book’s Scheda: L’Amico Ritrovato, Editore: Feltrinelli, scritto 1971)

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