Melanie's Reviews > Friedrich

Friedrich by Hans Peter Richter
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** spoiler alert ** WOW!

This is the story of two friends in Germany during Hitler's rise to power. The boys are only a week apart in age and grow up to be good friends. That begins to change when Hitler comes to power and membership in the Jungvolk (Young Folk) and Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth) becomes compulsory. Friedrick Schneider (who's Jewish) wants desperately to join this group with his friend, but quickly learns why he can't.

The narrators (readers never learn his name) father eventually joins the Nazi party for the well-being of his family, but does not buy into the ideology. The family continues to be friendly toward and help the Schneiders (who live upstairs from them). They even go so far as to try to speak out against the antisemitic landlord who tries to have the Jewish family evicted.

The author keeps it real with this book. No pulling punches, no toning down the violence. It's all there. All the way to the heart-breaking ending when the reader is left wondering what really happened.
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