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Monday, 21 August 2006

Gunter Grass

I thought I should write a piece about the recent news concerning Gunter Grass.

Gunter Grass is, as I am sure you know, the Nobel prize-winning author of the great anti-Nazi war novel The Tin Drum. Until recently his work and character were unquestioned, but recent revelations would, if you believe some of the reports, throw all of that into doubt.....

Gunter Grass recently admitted that part of his time in the German army was served in the Waffen SS, an elite unit with a terrifying reputation for brutality.

The Waffen SS was an elite fighting force, but the unit had a much darker side. The force grew into a one-million strong unit and was used to run the death camps in which millions of 'undesirables' were murdered during World War II. Could it be that Gunter Grass, the anti-Nazi author was part of this madness?

None of the most recent reports place Gunter Grass at the heart of the SS, nor is it suggested that he requested a posting to this 'elite' unit... indeed he has expressed feelings of shame that have burdened him over the years that he felt unable to confess to his part in the SS, but further details are to be published in his upcoming memoirs..... and that, I am afraid to say, is the point of this post.

Gunter Grass is undoubtedly a great writer but, it appears to me, that the recent revelations concerning his time in the Waffen SS have been released to increase interest in the publication of his new book. Indeed orders of the Tin Drum are said to be outpacing supply.

While Gunter Grass has always spoken out against the Nazi regime and is known as an outspoken peace activist I feel that he may have betrayed his beliefs and the memory of those who died in World War II and the Concentration Camps by allowing his war record to be used to gain media exposure.

Your thoughts?

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