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Which would be correct?

  1. Nosotros conocemos a los padres de nuestros amigos.
  2. Nosotros conocemos los padres de nuestros amigos.
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Yes, "a" should always be included when talking about knowing people.

It is not used with objects, though:

Nosotros conocemos el lugar

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Yes. When the direct object is a person, or several, you use "a" before the object.

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