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 Post subject: Gunter Grass
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:18 am
Posts: 362
Location: Reigate Mozambique
RiP Gunter Grass - Grass found success in every artistic form he explored - from poetry to drama and from sculpture to graphic art, but it wasn't until publication of his first novel The Tin Drum in 1959 he found the international reputation which bought him the Nobel prize for literature - he was also a speech writer for Willy Brandt. At the age of 16 he was conscripted into the 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg as a tank gunner and was castigated for keeping it secret for 60 years. To the BBC, Grass said in 2006: "It happened as it did to many of my age. We were in the labour service and all at once, a year later, the call-up notice lay on the table. And only when I got to Dresden did I learn it was the Waffen-SS." Joachim Fest, conservative German journalist, historian and biographer of Adolf Hitler, said to the German weekly Der Spiegel about Grass's disclosure: "After 60 years, this confession comes a bit too late. I can't understand how someone who for decades set himself up as a moral authority, a rather smug one, could pull this off." As Grass was for many decades an outspoken left-leaning critic of Germany's treatment of its Nazi past, his statement caused a great stir in the press. Rolf Hochhuth said it was "disgusting" that this same "politically correct" Grass had publicly criticized Helmut Kohl and Ronald Reagan's visit to a military cemetery at Bitburg in 1985, because it contained graves of Waffen-SS soldiers. In the same vein, the historian Michael Wolffsohn accused Grass of hypocrisy in not earlier disclosing his SS membership. Others defended Grass, saying his involuntary Waffen-SS membership came very early in his life, resulting from his being drafted shortly after his seventeenth birthday. They noted he had always been publicly critical of Germany's Nazi past. Pat Buchanan, former White House Communications director under President Ronald Reagan, said that Reagan had planned to visit Bitburg in acknowledgement that many of the Waffen-SS were either very young or had been drafted into the Nazi forces. Grass's biographer Michael Jürgs described the controversy as resulting in "the end of a moral institution". Lech Wałęsa initially criticized Grass for keeping silent about his SS membership for 60 years. He later withdrew his criticism after reading Grass' letter to the mayor of Gdańsk, saying that Grass "set the good example for the others." On 14 August 2006, the ruling party of Poland, Law and Justice, called on Grass to relinquish his honorary citizenship of Gdańsk. Jacek Kurski, a Law and Justice politician said, "It is unacceptable for a city where the first blood was shed, where World War II began, to have a Waffen-SS member as an honorary citizen." But, according to a 2010 poll ordered by city's authorities, the vast majority of Gdańsk citizens did not support Kurski's position. The mayor of Gdańsk, Paweł Adamowicz, said that he opposed submitting the affair to the municipal council because it was not for the council to judge history.

A controversial but undoubtedly great man.

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 Post subject: Re: Gunter Grass
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:01 pm 
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Nice resumé Sturmscharr , thank you .

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 Post subject: Re: Gunter Grass
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 5:29 pm 
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Posts: 1313
Well said andy

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