Thursday, July 26, 2007

Unter Gunter

Remember last years Gunter Grass scandal? That he was a member of the Waffen-SS? (*)

Well, here's a bit from a new book review I found:-

He gets lost behind Russian lines. Wandering in the woods, exhausted, hungry, and afraid, he hears someone nearby. Friend or foe? Nervously he intones the beginning of a German folk song about little Hans wandering out "into the wide world" alone, "Hänschen klein ging allein...." To his immeasurable relief the hidden stranger responds with the rest of the line, " die weite Welt hinein." Had the other man been a Russian, we would probably have no Tin Drum. Instead, he's an avuncular German corporal, who advises the now seventeen-year-old Grass to take off his Waffen-SS jacket. If he is captured, the Russians won't take kindly to those double runes.

But Gunter took them off figuratively for 60 years after that.



On August 11, 2006, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported on its Web site that Grass had been a member of the Waffen-SS. Grass had revealed this himself in his then-forthcoming memoir, and had confirmed it in an interview with the FAZ published in full the following day. This was the literary-political equivalent of a nuclear explosion. The negative response in Germany was sustained and often savage, as can be seen in a documentation produced by Grass's publisher, Ein Buch, Ein Bekenntnis (A Book, A Confession). A critic said Grass would never have won the Nobel Prize for Literature had this been known, and a politician called on him to give it back. Joachim Fest, the well-known historian of Nazism, commented, "I wouldn't even buy a used car from this man now."

Chancellor Angela Merkel said, "I would have wished that we had been fully informed about his biography from the outset." Columnists accused him of making the revelation to get publicity for his new book. Henryk M. Broder, an acerbic commentator, wrote that Grass had clambered his way up from membership in an "elite troop"—a satirical reference to Grass's own description of how he probably viewed the Waffen-SS as a sixteen-year-old—to being a Herrenmensch of the cultural industry.

1 comment:

muebles camobel said...

This won't succeed in actual fact, that is what I believe.