A thorough and engaged investigator, Gérard Guégan reconstructs the many lives of Theodore Fraenkel, a mysterious character forgotten to history. A fascinating journey through the 20th century.
A classmate of André Breton at the Chaptal College; a conscript in the First World War, despite his tender age (he is only 18 when the war breaks out); a player in the Dada and, later, Surrealist movements while still at medical school; an active supporter of the Resistance; a witness to Russia’s October Revolution in 1917; and a combatant in the Anarchist ranks of the Spanish Civil War. A Jew, he flees France at the outbreak of World War Two, crossing the Pyrenees as well as he can. His odyssey takes him back to the Soviet Union. Like Romain Gary, he joins the Normandy-Niemen squadron and sets out to bomb the Germans. But has he truly been forgotten? At the end of the story, a biography worthy of an adventure novel, the meaning of this exceptional man’s life is revealed. Could Fraenkel have tried to disappear, discreetly erasing any trace he might have left behind?