Talk:Günter Grass

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The expansion of government should not be described as "democratic reform".

The SPD policy of the 1970s of expanding government (higher taxes and more government spending and regulations)is described as "democratic reform" in the article - it is absurdly biased to describe expanding government, in size and scope, as "democratic reform". (talk) 13:48, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Early edits[edit]

Moved from Guenter Grass and fixed links on 7 pages that link to Günter Grass

Danzig, Poland in 1927? I don't want to be H.Jonat, but I don't thing that was Poland then, but Germany. Gunter Grass is a well known German writer.

Please compare Gdansk.

Is it really Bremen? I am rather sure that Lübeck has just opened a Günter Grass House. I'll try to check it. Any comments?

checked it- these are two separate organisations.Kosebamse 13:51 Feb 9, 2003 (UTC)

It seems strange to describe Grass as a "Kashubian-German." True, his hometown was transferred from Germany to Poland in 1945 and all the surviving Germans were expelled, including him, to be replaced by Poles. But Grass is a German writer, always has lived in Germany except for the first 12 years of his life, when Danzig was not politically part of Germany (though inhabited by Germans -- 96%), and always has written in German. Besides, few people in the English-speaking world have heard of Kashubia, though Kashubians do appear in some of his novels. Essentially he is a German writer.


I want to know where you have find the classification of Grass as writer of "Geschichtsaufarbeitung" and what are the other novels that fit in this scheme (Im Krebsgang fits thats right) - but I'm not sure if the others do? Thanks!

I'm not sure if I understand your question, but if you are asking which of Grass' works can be characterized as geschichtsaufarbeitung, I would say that The Tin Drum and Headbirths are both prime examples. I have not read too many of his other works, so I can't speak to works other than those. --DropDeadGorgias (talk) 20:05, Feb 11, 2005 (UTC)
Does he really take a controversial point or is it common sense? Krebsgang caused a debate in Germany. I think in Tin Drum there is only the historical background and not a way to give new "ideals" or accusations for the german people (it sound to pathetic - my English is to bad).

Link cleanup[edit]

The Schleswig-Holstein museum's collection doesn't show up for me; it shows me a list of pictures saying "Picture Restricted by Copyright Owner". I've taken this out for now — do I need to do something special to get it to work? --Mgreenbe 14:35, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

I've taken out the link to rasscass, as it's (1) in German and (2) the German biography we have has fewer ads. The Gunter Grass/Tom Rosenthal interview link is dead and a cursory Google search couldn't re-find it. --Mgreenbe 14:35, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Missing from the bibliography is the 2002 novel Too Far Afield. See There may be others, I just know that this one has been taunting me from the unread portion of my bookshelf since it came out in paperback.

Member of the Waffen-SS[edit]

Günther Grass recently stated that he was a member of the Waffen-SS. Source: AchtungAchtung 16:31, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Gunter Grass was a member of the Waffen-SS which was Adolf Hitler's elite Nazi troops. The organization was convicted of war crimes, etc. So, yes the article should have the words Nazi and Hitler in it. Please stop removing sourced, factual information simply because you don't want it in. There has to be a better argument than: "I don't want it in." That is not good enough. If someone has been running around for most of his life blasting the American way of life and he fought with and defended the Nazi and then did not disclose it for most of his life then it meets the level notability to be included in the article. Also, don't call my comments or edits childish. Your name calling is not acceptable and it violates Wikipedia policy: Wikipedia:No personal attacks. AchtungAchtung, please review that policy and try to follow it. --Getaway 22:21, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Look, there's an article about the Waffen-SS on Wikipedia. There's no need to discuss what the Waffen-SS excactly was in this article. To say the Waffen-SS was "an elite Nazi troop" is still lurid and additionally partly incorrect. Last but not least your edit destroys the structure of the sentence and you write Waffen-SS incorrectly. AchtungAchtung 22:35, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Once again, many people do not know what the Waffen-SS is and its association with the Nazis. Everyone knows what the Nazis are and were. The information is sourced, cited and factual. Now, you have a personal reason to remove the information, but that is not way the process works.--Getaway 22:57, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
If someone doesn't know what the Waffen-SS is, he should read the article about it. FYI, Grass never denied that he was a soldier during WW2 (of course on Germany's side), so there is nothing new, that he "defended the Nazis". Furthermore, the sentence as it is now is still wrong, since it suggests that there was only one Waffen-SS division, and that leads me to believe that you don't know much about the topic at all. AchtungAchtung 23:02, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Let's see. I asked you not to engage in personal attacks. You just did it again. Please stop. Also, you have not given a substantive reason why the word Nazi should not be in the article. You have engaged in personal attacks toward me. Also, there is new information. We now know that he was in the SS. Also, that does NOT in anyway speak to the issue of notability. This is information that needs to be in the article because he has choosen to conceal his participation in the SS his whole life. He also has attacked the actions of the U.S., but we now know that he VOLUNTEERED for SS service. It is significant and notable. You have not given a reason on why it is not. If was not significant and notable then why did he go out of his way to conceal for his whole life??? Also, why are attempted to censor that information from the article if it is not a big deal, as your argument basically comes down to??? The answer is simple. He knew that it was significant and notable information, he also knew that if was generally known in the population he would not have been taken as seriously as a writer and as a political activist. So he concealed it. By the same token, you have some reason that you want it out of the article. I don't know what that is, but I do know that you have not given a reason on why it is not significant or notable. His comments about peace and his criticism of the U.S. foreign policy would not have been taken so seriously for all of these years if this information had come out earlier in his life. His so-called concern about peace and war would not have had the same effect when it comes from a Nazi. --Getaway 23:23, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Please, Getaway, calm down a bit... As you can see on the discussion page, it was me who mentioned at first, that Grass stated, that he was a Waffen-SS soldier. So, it's kind of absurd to accuse me of wanting to prevent that from being mentioned in the article. But on the other hand, at first, you called Grass a Nazi and you wanted to continue with that and now, you just want that the word Nazi is included in the article. So you kind of changed your whole plan a long the way... So, I still don't support this formulation, it's kind of redundant to call the Waffen-SS "Nazi Waffen-SS", since there was only one Waffen-SS. AchtungAchtung 23:39, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
I changed the formulation, if you will, in response to the changes and objection that I received from you and the other fellow. Yes, one of my versions was, as you pointed out, grammatically incorrect so I tried to change it. You point out that you thought one of my versions was "lurid." I don't agree, but I was trying to make adjustments. (By the way, the so-called "lurid" version quoted the article from the Reuters word for word, so if the wording is, as you say "lurid" then blame the folks at Reuters, who doctor photographs of the Iraq War and try to pass them off as real photojournalism.) So, I have decided to just focus on the word Nazi. Why? Well, there is no need to mention Hitler if you mention Nazi. You think of one when you think of the other. However, many, many people do not know what the Waffen-SS is. One goal of good writing is to make point and discussion clear for the reader. I think that the word Nazi needs to included for the reasons that I gave above. Also, Waffen-SS does not mean squat to the average joe, but the word Nazi means a lot. So I believe the word Nazi, without any references to Adolph Hitler, etc. is an acceptable compromise. --Getaway 00:08, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

(Reset indent). I think there's need for a bit of nuance here. Grass - to his credit - has acknowledged his former membership in the Waffen SS, and nobody could question his anti-Nazi sentiments for several decades. I don't think we should hide his former membership, nor the unspeakable nature of the Waffen-SS; but let's not make him to be of the same cloth as Adolf Eichmann, either. --Leifern 00:27, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree. He is not on the level of Hitler, Eichmann, Göring, etc., but he has been attacking the Nazis his whole life AND he has been comparing U.S. foreign policy to the Nazi and Republicans to Nazis, etc. If that is not the epitome of hypocritical then I don't know what is. --Getaway 00:34, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
On the other hand, one might argue "it takes one to know one." At any rate, I think a link to the SS is sufficient. If folks want more information about the SS, they can click the link. His membership is significant and should be included in this article since it clearly affected (inspired, motivated, etc.) his life and his art. Rklawton 05:26, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
No, the only hypocricy is in his covering this over. Millions joined or "volunteered" under conditions where they would have been conscripted anyway, that's no different from what happened in this country. The fact that he came to develop political views hostile to the Nazis and their regime thereafter, that the view of the world of someone as a 17 year would change later is unremarkeable: look at anti-war Vietnam Vets who went over there steeped in patriotic enthusiasm but became disillusioned later.Tom Cod 18:35, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
Gunther Grass was in German 10th Panzer Division. He joined in 1944, when that division was already basically disbanded. He never saw any battles nor any atrocities. See [[1]]. And, like the Waffen SS page says, most of its units were just a regular military, forcefully drafted youths. DLX 11:58, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
No, 10 Panzer was Wehrmacht. Grass was in 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg. Leibniz 12:43, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, my bad... too little coffee. DLX 12:46, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Getaway, it's not our job to say whether Grass was hypocritical or not. We have to maintain a NPOV and the word "Nazi Waffen-SS" is definitely POV, because that's not the official name of that organisation and it is supposed to lead the opinion of the reader in a certain direction. It would be acceptable to mention that the Waffen-SS was an organisation of the Third Reich or even of Nazi Germany but to call it Nazi Waffen-SS is not NPOV and not encyclopedic. AchtungAchtung 12:38, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Did I attempt to point out his hypocritical attitude in the actual article?? No. So that is not a valid point. I only pointed out his hypocritical attitude on this the talk page. I did not attempt to force that into the article, so once again, your point is off target. Now, there are many, many newspaper articles that refer to the "Nazi Waffen-SS" and that is their words not mine. You are criticizing my use of their terms because for some reason you feel compelled to defend the guy and you cannot get their attention, only mine. Why you feel the need to defend him I don't know. However, as you point out a reference to the Third Reich or Nazi Germany is appropriate and I will add that to the article. --Getaway 14:21, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Also, AchtungAchtung, let's revisit some of your earlier comments. Not the ones where you were personally attacking me, but specifically the one where you stated that my edit to the article was "lurid." You perceived the edit as "lurid" for some reason or another, presumably because you have a high regard for Grass and you have now learned that he has not been completely honest with his past, even though he has made a career out of criticizing others for their past. I think Mr. Grass' actions, over his entire adult lifetime, have been a classic case of projection. Now, as Mr. Grass pointed out himself the attempt to argue that the Waffen-SS is somehow not a Nazi organization is symptom of another form of human coping called denial. I think what we have here with this particular Wikipedia article is example of what Mr. Grass would have called denial. He was a Nazi (even though he was not Hitler) and most of the editors of this page just love him and they just can't call him what he is: a Nazi. You have stated that my edits were "lurid" but we learned from the BBC article that words that used in my original edit were taken from a Reuters article, which, in turn, was quoting Mr. Grass himself. I quote from the BBC article, "Hitler's elite Waffen-SS". Once again, these are the words of the BBC, not me. However, you are attacking the messenger.--Getaway 14:39, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Now it is you who is engaging in personal attacks. I am defending the principle of NPOV and nothing else. And BTW, the fact, that some newspaper uses a certain term does in no way prove that this term is appropriate or suited for an encyclopedia. AchtungAchtung 14:32, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Where is the personal attack?? I'm pointing out merely what you stated.--Getaway 14:40, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Getaway, you are repeating yourself. Just because he was a member of the Waffen-SS does not make him a Nazi. And again, to the press articles: I just read one in which they said "Grass was member of the SS" abd that's absolutely misleading, since there is a huge difference between the Allgemeine SS and the Waffen-SS. I hope, that you can see, that it's not an argument to say "But the press said that, too". And your personal attacks are all these assumptions about what kind of an opinion I might have about Grass. I didn't say anything abouth what I think of him, so please stop your speculations about that. AchtungAchtung 14:47, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Just like Mr. Grass himself you won't be able to cover up his Nazi past forever. There will be article after article next week, by respected writers all over the world, comparing Mr. Grass' Nazi past and Mr. Grass' sanctimous lectures over the years. These comparison will come and they will be important and notable, rolling over the attempts of editors of this page to cover up and make nice his past. There are many, many holes in his story now and those that he exploited over the years, by unfairly calling Nazi, will demand answers to his secret past. Its coming.--Getaway 20:11, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
(The Simpsons, 1993) Homer (to Marge): I can finally look down my nose at you. You have a gambling problem! … Remember when I got caught stealing all those watches from Sears? Well, that's nothing, because you have a gambling problem! And remember when I let that escaped lunatic in the house 'cause he was dressed like Santa Claus? Well you have a gambling problem!
(Wikipedia, 2006) Getaway (to Grass): Remember when [insert random example of U.S. foreign policy]? Well, that's nothing, because you were in the Waffen-SS!
Enjoy your brief moment of Schadenfreude. Vilĉjo 22:39, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

'[insert random example of U.S. foreign policy]'?? Oh dear. Thus sprach a lefty fan of Grass', all right. (talk) 19:05, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

Good Point, way to defend the Nazi. Enuff said.--Getaway 02:01, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
What is it, that is covered up, dear Getaway? And don't forget: No personal attacks, huh...--AchtungAchtung 22:27, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Not a problem, considering that I have not engaged in any personal attacks as you have. --Getaway 02:05, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Maybe it's better, if we don't continue this discussion. Auf Wiedersehen. AchtungAchtung 13:10, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

GÜNTER GRASS WAS NEVER A WAFFEN-SS MEMBER. IT WAS ALL A PUBLICITY STUNT. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Harald4244 (talkcontribs) 22:03, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Grass was not a Nazi. What was the Waffen-SS?[edit]

What do you mean Mr Grass was "not" a Nazi? Of course he was a National Socialist - where is the evidence that he was not? He never stopped being a socialist - he just changed brand of socialism (from the National Socialists to the SPD), his socialism, and therefore his hatred of the "capitalist" United States, remained a constant. (talk) 14:00, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

I would add a brief description of what the Waffen-SS was, the article needs it. Himmler was always trying to build up his empire, and as part of this, he encroched on the preserve of the Werhrmacht (Army). So the Party could have loyal troops independent of the Army, several regular combat units were raised and equipped by the SS for ordinary combat, starting in 1934. These were originaly called SS-Verfügungstruppe, using the same recruit pool as the Army, but drawing officers fron the SS. These units were mostly engaged in legitimate military operations, and were no more guilty of war crimes than regular Army units. The Army is not considered an untouchable organazation to-day, so, neither should those in the Waffen-SS who were real soliders be so considered.

Another thing Himmler did was seize the Army's foreign legion program during the war, and brand it with the SS label. So all the foriegn volunteers for military service were tarred with the black SS brush (their home countries mostly considered them traitors, but that would have been true even if they had joined under Army auspices).

Army and Waffen-SS, they were both in the service of the Reich, of course and its policy of conquest and enslavement, backed by harsh treatment and atrocity. But as reguar combat fighting troops,they are still not in the same class as the Allgemeine SS , the regular SS, the Party's black-shirted bully boy enforcers who became the architects of genocide. It is a little confusing, especialy as the notorious concentration camp guards, the Totenkopfverbände, were taken from the Allgemeine SS and put into the Waffen-SS structure for administrative purposes. That, more than anything, got the Waffen-SS branded a criminal organazation after the war.

It may be useful to read the detailed Wikipedia article 'Allgemeine SS'. Also, though after the war the Waffen-SS was declared a criminal organization, this attitude has been modified a little since. The present German Goverment will now pay military pensions to some Waffen-SS soliders who were drafted and not Party men. Does Grass have a pension? It would be interesting to find out. Volunteers are excluded because they usualy turn out to have come thru the SS system (foreign volunteers are excluded to avoid stirring up bad feeling in their home countries). The Government definitely does NOT give anything to the Allgemeine SS, or to the Totenkopfverbände, whoever was running it. I hope this is helpful.

When seeing that someone was a member of the Waffen-SS, one should ask further, and find if this solider was also a loyal Party man. This is a given in the Allgemeine SS, but not in the Waffen-SS. As I look at the record, it seems clear that though Grass fought for Germany, he was not a Nazi. There were many such. (talk) 01:39, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Use of "conscription"[edit]

Given that he volunteered for the army, is it accurate to say that he was conscripted, even if he hadn't wanted to join the SS forces in particular? Andjam 13:01, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

The statements he made so far seem a bit vague about what he intended to volunteer for. I hope it will become clearer. Leibniz 13:05, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
From [2]: "Als Fünfzehnjähriger hatte er sich noch als Hitlerjunge freiwillig zu den U-Booten gemeldet, mit siebzehn wurde Grass einberufen und kam vom Arbeitsdienst zur Division „Frundsberg“, die zur Waffen-SS gehörte." But he also mentioned that the gung-ho reputation of the Waffen-SS was attractive to him. Leibniz 13:29, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, the way the last section is currently presented in the article, there appears to be some conflict. The article quotes him as saying he got a "call-up" notice meaning he was drafted and did not volunteer. W.C. 15:36, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
He volunteered for the U-Boats and the Wehrmacht, that much is clear. Whether the "call-up" (Einberufungsbefehl) meant he had also expressed a preference for the Waffen-SS or not is not clear. Leibniz 16:17, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, he volunteered for military service, but (as far as we know from the reports) not for the Waffen SS in particular. HenryFlower 15:53, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Where's actually the relevance of the cited excerpt from the Spiegel interview? I mean - is there any significance in the cited guy's statement? e_l_ -- 14:46, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
If you mean Joachim Fest by "the cited guy", he is an authority on the Third Reich and so his views are notable. Incidentally, in the same interview he also said one could get drafted against one's will into the Waffen-SS; it happened to some of his friends who did not join the Wehrmacht quickly enough. Leibniz
Thanks for your notable hint - I had read the corresponding interview with Mr. Fest myself. Still I don't see the citation's relevance in this case. Just because somebody is an authority for questions concerning the Third Reich, that doesn't necessarily mean he is an authority concerning Günter Grass and his life, does it? I mean, there are literally hundreds of authorities out there concerning WWII, the Nazis and the Third Reich, and I just can't see why the selected citation should have more weight in an article which is about GG - and NOT about the Third Reich, the Nazis or WWII. The same actually also counts for the quoted Mr. Kurski and Hochhuth. And before you now blame me for being some kind of supporter of GG or the like: I do not think so. This question is about what to add to an article, but not about GG or his behaviour. e_l_-- 11:26, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Whatever. Why don't you take it out and have fun in the resulting POV pissing contest. Leibniz 12:00, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Or better yet, if you think the article is imbalance, why don't you spend some time adding to the article about Mr. Grass' writing. Why do feel the need to censor valid, sourced information from an appropriate source, the man's biographer for goodness sake??? Look the article is somewhat short for someone that won the Nobel Prize for Lit. If you want to creat balance add to the article, don't censor it. That's not fair. You are welcome to add, why do you feel the need to subtract?? The man has held himself up as a paragon of truth and virtue for 60 years and he was lying about his role in WWII, that is a notable fact and I going to keep it in. Just go add to the article concerning other aspects of his life, you are welcome to it. --Getaway 12:05, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Did I somewhere state that I think that this article is not balanced? You must have misinterpreted my statement. If I want to know something about producing sausages, well, I do not ask a professor of Sanskrit but rather a butcher, right? And if I want to know something about GG's life, why then should I ask the cited guys? One of them is an expert on the Third Reich, another is some kind of Polish politician and so on. Why should they be qualified for answering questions about GG? My statement is not that this article might or might not be out of balance, but my statement is that these are the wrong guys to ask about GG's life. I see this mixing of concerns all over Wikipedia being done again and again as soon as it comes to certain personalities. e_l_-- 13:24, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
In response to, I tend to agree with your comment about Wikipedia as a whole. There are people that are NOT lawyers writing articles on the U.S. Federal rules that pertain to torture. There are people that are NOT microbiologists, but rather cooks, store clerks, etc. writing comments about what is a pluripotent stem cell and what its characteristics are and aren't. This a real problem with Wikipedia. There are also cultural differences between the various editors and what they consider notable and non-notable. I've now learned that what is considered a Nazi in Kansas and what is considered a Nazi in Germany are two very diffferent things. This can be a good thing or it can be bad thing. Either way, it is a difficult thing because some things are just not a matter of opinion. Who do you think should be quoted in relation to Grass?? Much of the debate is taking place in German and I can only read the comments that happen to be translated into English. Of the folks that I have read, Fest seems to be the best source. Why? Well, he supposedly wrote a biography of Grass and he supposedly had access to Grass for that biography and Grass did not disclosed the Waffen-SS thing during those discussions. I personally believe that Fest has summed up the feelings of what most people find wrong about Grass' disclosure. There is a different quote from Fest that I was going to substitute because I'm totally sure that the one quoted is entirely perfect. But for the most part, it does sum up the issues. I don't believe the concensus believes that a 17 year old boy choosing military service is necessarily something to be condemned for; however, I believe that many, many people find the fact that Grass concealed his service in the Waffen-SS for 60 years while he walked around the country holding himself out as a moral authority over everyone (and not just Germans, but also Americans, Brits, etc.) as if he is freaking Jesus Christ himself--that is why this disclosure is notable and needs to be mentioned in the article.--Getaway 13:55, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
If reality is permitted to intrude for a second: Michael Jürgs is Grass's biographer, Fest is Hitler's. Or are they the same in Kansas? Leibniz 14:03, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
All of those comments and that is all you have to say? Great analysis. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Getaway (talkcontribs)
Since that was the only substantive point you made in your preceding contribution, and it was wrong, Leibniz was quite right to confine his response to that point rather than the surrounding verbiage. So, is there any good reason to retain that (or any other) quote from Fest – does it add anything authoritative on the specific issue it is addressing? Vilĉjo 15:19, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
No. There was another substantive point: Most of the comment on Grass' disclosure is about the length of time it took for him (Grass) to reveal it and Grass' finger-wagging. Now, if Fest is not the right person to relate that concern, which I have not heard an argument that he isn't, then who is that person, because that concern is a legitamite, notable concern, and should be part of the article--all substantive points about the article. --Getaway 15:37, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
So - why not cite Michael Jürgs in place of Fest? As GG's biographer he should indeed be better suited to answer questions about GG's life. I checked Jürg's Wikipedia-article and there it says: "In diesem Zusammenhang erklärte er dem Berliner Tagesspiegel zum Fall Grass in der Waffen-SS: Er sei persönlich enttäuscht von Günter Grass und es handele sich „um das Ende einer moralischen Instanz"." Here's my suggestion: If you can't live with having no other person's oppinion on GG and the Waffen-SS in this article, then you should rather cite this guy instead of Fest or Kurski. (Sorry, I don't have the corresponding article in the Berliner Tagesspiegel.) e_l_-- 07:25, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
This may sound shocking, but you could stop complaining and improve the article. Leibniz 10:47, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
The Jürgs quote is already in the article. HenryFlower 10:51, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. The "end of a moral institution" is the very first quote I put in. HenryFlower then added that it was, significantly, Grass's biographer who said it. Now, we could do with a better source and more context for the quote, since at present it comes from a grab-bag of statements by various people. Leibniz 11:11, 16 August 2006 (UTC)


It would be nice to have references to the particular commentators mentioned, who are presumably the basis for the 'controversy' heading. The CNN report referenced doesn't mention them, or any controversy. HenryFlower 15:53, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Well, CNN is a tad superficial and will forget about it the second the next US showbiz scandal comes along... It's all over the German press. Leibniz 16:03, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

I changed the headline from "controversy" to "admission of SS membership" because as of now there has not been alot of controversy the main focus has been the admission its self. Perhaps later there will be more controversy and then the title can be changed back Joel s 16:07, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Fair enough. But it's brewing already. Leibniz 16:10, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Although it is easily lost in the general hysteria here, the real controversy is not so much over what Grass did as a 17-year old conscript, but his lifelong eagerness to sit in judgement over others. Leibniz 20:04, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

SS 1944[edit]

Hier von der gestrigen deutschen Wikipedia-Diskussionsseite [[3]], drei Hinweise, Grass´ spätes Bekenntnis zur Waffen-SS-Mitgliedschaft betreffend:

-> Die Frage: "Kann er es beweisen" erscheint nur auf den ersten Blick wird´s nach dem was er selbst sagt im FAZ-Druck-Interview nicht beweisen können. Höchstinteressant sind sowohl seine beiden Rückbezüge auf v. Schirarch´s Verteidigungsrede am 31. Aug. 1946 als auch und vor allem sein erneutes Schweigen, warum, wie, wo und wann er denn in US-Gefangenschaft gekommen sein will...Selbstverständlich war seine Standard-Vita-Formel: 1944 "Flakhelfer" gelogen...was nichts daran ändert, daß Grass ein professionell-sprachmächtiger Berufsautor ist, der den begehrten NPL erhielt..., aber moralisch und politisch ?

-> ´Nicht die Tatsachen, sondern die Meinungen, welche wir über Tatsachen haben, bestimmen unsere Handlungen´ (Alexander von Humboldt) – das Thomas-Theorem scheint auch hier zu gelten: jeder stud. hist. sollte inzwischen wissen, daß "aus Gründen" kein SS-Mann 1944/45 "den Russen in die Hände fallen" wollte. Das Wichtigste am FAZ-Grass-Interview könnte in diesem Sinn das sein, was er "aus Gründen" nicht sagt, folglich verschweigt. Andrerseits: Selbst wenn Grass, was er weder ist noch wird, öffentlich angeklagt würde, muß er sich nicht selbst belasten, darf also schweigen; und auch lügen an sich ist nicht strafbar, "nur" moralisch verwerflich

-> Herr Grass, immerhin kein X-beliebiger Medienpiffer, sondern LNP-Träger 1999, "rückt nicht mit der Wahrheit heraus" im FAZ-Interview 12. August.2006, denn auch in diesem - bitte lesen Sie genau - sind viele Leerstellen, d.h. Grass verschweigt vieles. - Im übrigen hat es ebenso in der Nachkriegs-SPD eine Nazifraktion gegeben wie im "Spiegel" eine SS-SD-Intellektuellengruppe...

MvS, Bonn, 120806

Speculation, POV and irrelevant. As if we needed to be donated rants over here, thank you very much. Leibniz 20:01, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Well, Dr.phil. Leibnitz, I don´t understand why you´re proclaiming that German triple as irrelevant "donated rants" or, plainly, rubbish talk;-), please, have a look on that documents as published by German weekly "Der Spiegel" (Aug. 15th, 2006): [[4]] demonstrating that Günter Grass, in fact, was a member of the SS ("Waffen-SS"), in 1944/45. Please, realize, that Grass got, in 1999, that p.N.l. because he painted the very forgotten face of contemporary history in as fresh as black colours when telling his story ("in munterschwarzen Fabeln das vergessene Gesicht der Geschichte gezeichnet"), and think it over what both hard-core facts whenever connected could mean, sincerely, M./Aug. 16, 2006

Serving "As a Nazi"[edit]

I noticed that there was a dispute above over the phrasing of the description of Grass admitting to have "been a Nazi". I'm a little unclear on the details of the dispute, but it looks as if it was over whether he served "as a Nazi" in the Waffen SS. I don't think that this is necessarily the case any more than being in the Navy or other armed forces in the US means that one is serving "as a Republican" in the Navy. Allowing the two ideas to conflate is a mistake and almost certainly trying to put POV in the article. --Akhonji 13:36, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Hm, I wouldn't be surprised if you will be rewarded with a long rant for that statement. Leibniz 15:20, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, I've been the subjects of several long, confused rants today already, I don't see how one more would hurt. The fact of the matter is that people are all too ready to immediately condemn anyone associated with the German military, whether they did or didn't have anything to do with Nazi atrocities, just because it's so much easier to listen to old propaganda condemning German soldiers as "the Hun" and so forth, and cast a blanket judgement over anyone who was associated with the wrong side. --Akhonji 18:03, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
If you are referring to the comments that I made on your talk page, let me go over the facts once again. AchtungAchtung called my edits, well, "childish." And I pointed out him that his comments are violations of the Wikipedia policy, they are against the rule No Personal Attacks. See Wikipedia:No personal attacks. I told AchtungAchtung to stop engaging in personal attacks and I am now telling you again, do not encourage AchtungAchtung or any other editors to engage in personal attacks. Above, you stated, "condemn anyone associated with the German military, whether they did or didn't have anything to do with Nazi atrocities," but you refuse to point out that Mr. Grass brought these condemnations upon himself because he has been a lying, blowhard left-wing weasel for 60 years. As I pointed out to AchtungAchtung, Mr. Grass is a classic example of projection. He points his finger at everyone else in the world and condemns their actions, but he just could not seem to be honest about his Waffen-SS past, as matter of fact he had to lie about it for 60 years. What a hypocrite!!! Voice for a Generation, my arse. If you are confused about what I just stated let me say it again. Voice for a Generation, my arse. Also, don't encourage AchtungAchtung to engage in personal attacks. Any questions?? Also, as for your analogy on this page. I understand your comparison between Republicans and U.S. enlisted Army men, but do you really believe that this left-wing blowhard who has been lying about his service in the Waffen-SS for 61 years is really telling you the whole story?? Why do you believe him without question? He has not earned the benefit of the doubt. Why? How about the FACT that he has out and out lied about the Waffen SS service for over 60 freaking years??? No I don't give him the benefit of the doubt. Deal with it. --Getaway 18:40, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I would say that you are the one that did the personal attacks. And if you don't give him the benefit of doubt, I would request that you stop editing this article. Your personal opinions have no place in this article - or Wikipedia in general. There are no facts of him being a member of National Socialist German Workers Party (aka Nazi), nor there are any indications that he was involved in any war atrocities. At worst, there was a 17yo boy who was drafted in military and then assigned to the Waffen SS. That does not make him Nazi or a war criminal. As for the being quiet... hmm, he was a part of the losing army and there are way too many people like who would gladly stamp every German Nazi and have them shot on spot. So please keep to NPOV or don't edit this article. DLX 19:42, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, well, well. Another comment on my editing without the benefit of pointing to anything that I have done wrong. I have not engaged in any personal attacks. If I did please show me in the edit history, where I did, otherwise, please leave that off the table. Next, every single person has personal opinions just like you do. You just expresed some. However, I am honest in my opinion of Grass being a left-wing, blowhard. And unlike Mr. Grass I did not wait 60 years to call him one. Now, you are putting words in my mouth (let me point it out to you: "there are way too many people like who (sic) would gladly stamp every German Nazi and have them shot on spot". I never said that, that is simply your imagination. I guess you needed to make up words, put them in my mouth, so that you would have something to santimously condemn, as your hero Mr. Grass did for all those years. Even if Mr. Grass is a Nazi, I don't want him shot, that notion is just your wild, uncontolled imagination. I just want to call him what he is, a garden variety Nazi. If he wasn't then why did he lie about it for 60 years? Oh, by the way, I'm not going to stop editing the article. I apologize if that disappoints you. And one last final thing: It is possible that he is a Nazi, but we don't know because the German government refuses to release the names of the 11 million Nazi party members on file. The German government does not have the moral authority to condemn anyone. --Getaway 20:02, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Please do not put words into my mouth. I never said you want to shoot anyone. That was your imagination. Please stick to NPOV or stop editing. This is an encyclopedia, not your blog. Or, we might need a mediator for this article. DLX 20:20, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Once again, you have not provided an example of where I was engaging in non-NPOV. So please drop it. Also, once again, it is possible that he was a Nazi--we just don't know the records have not been released. Also, his book is coming out on the first of Sept and we will learn more about what he has been lying about. Also, you please stick to the NPOV or just stop editing the article, this is an encyclopedia and no one wants your preconceived ideas of Mr. Grass in it. And finally, I'm waiting for your examples. Thank you. --Getaway 20:27, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
You've avoided POV edits in the article, it's true and commendable. However, the talk page of a public figure is not the place for mud-slinging. Additionally, making sarcastic or denegrating comments in edit summaries, toward anonymous editors or otherwise, is bad. Remember, a lot of vandals do what they do to get a rise out of people, so if you revert something like that, just say "rv" instead of going after the other editor. --Akhonji 20:28, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
At the end of the day, that's all the charges that you can get me on??? And I'm get a speech from you who assumed that I wrote, "served as a Nazi"??? But you had me mistaken for an anon editor???? Give me a break!!! Don't lecture me. You started all of the discussion by encouraging AchtungAchtung to continue to engage in personal attacks, basically you were encouraging another editor to continue to break one the most important Wikipedian rules. Get out of here with that, jeez. Really. And don't forget Mr. Gunter Grass is a left-wing, blowhard. --Getaway 20:37, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
None of that makes any of what I said above less true. Just because I made the mistake of thinking you added something because you were defending it does not make my making note of what a talk page is for invalid. Neither have I encouraged to AchtungAchtung to make personal attacks; I think what he did was not a personal attack. Keep that in mind. A message board would be a fine place to talk and editorialize all you like; keep the talk page about the article. --Akhonji 20:43, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I have already pointed out that what AchtungAchtung did and stated is a personal attack, please review the policy. I will provide it to you once again: Wikipedia:No personal attacks. --Getaway 20:46, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I do not regard AchtungAchtung calling the view you took of the situation in WWII Germany naive as a personal attack any more than I regard this edit summary as one. Further, I did not encourage him to make personal attacks, I suggested that he should rethink his words and use naive instead of childish. --Akhonji 20:51, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Oh, for the sake of all that is good and decent, just freaking drop it. What he said was a personal attack. Stop arguing about it. He's not even arguing about it. Just edit the article. And remember Mr. Gunter Grass is full of himself.--Getaway 21:02, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia is (at WP:NOT) not a soapbox for pontificating from about how foul people you don't like are. As I said above, that's for message boards. --Akhonji 22:10, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
You just can't stop yourself, can you??--Getaway 22:31, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I can't stop in good conscience as long as you insist on pontificating on talk pages. --Akhonji 14:11, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
In good conscience, that's funny. --Getaway 14:24, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
I think I'm not going to be baited by you on this talk page any more. --Akhonji 15:33, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

The little matter of the oath[edit]

I have been keenly following the discussion regarding Mr. Grass and his recent admission of his past as a member of the Waffen-SS. Inasmuch as there are those who would rather gloss over the severity of this admission and try to in some small way distance Günter Grass from the Nazis, it is quite important for people to understand exactly what he was. If indeed he was with the 10th Panzer in 1944, then he most certainly would have been involved in combat operations against Brits, Americans, (and Poles!) in and around Nijmegen and Arnhem.

As the descendant of those who served proudly with the U.S. Armed Forces in World War 2, I am reluctant to say "so what" to the above disparagement of Mr. Grass' service in World War II, but I feel that that's exactly the response this overblown controversy calls for. Grass was simply a teenage draftee who was caught up, like millions of others, in titanic world shaking events far larger than him in which 50 million died, not just 6 million Jews, in which whole nations and continents were ravaged; thus it is innacurate and politically self-serving and ultimately an inept insult to all World War 2 veterans, to sanctimoniously state, while disparaging the suffering of Poland and the Poles (the issue which sparked the war in 1939 in the first place), as one of Grass' critics did in the New York Times book review recently, that Grass' service egregiously occurred in the "main context" of the Holocaust, because actually it was more than that, the context actually being the Second World War of which the massacre of six million Jews was a part, as was the death of 3 million German soldiers and 25 million Soviet people among others. He was involved in "combat operations"? No kidding? isn't that what soldiers do? Does that violate the Geneva Conventions without more? No.
Actually, Grass was no different than millions upon millions of rank and file youth who served as common soldiers, proudly or otherwise, fighting for their country, rightly or wrongly, in the Second World War on the basis of mindless compulsion or misplaced patriotism. Although Grass should rightly feel embarassed for covering this up, I don't believe he has that much to apologize for on a personal level for not knowing any better than to do what was conventionally considered as his patriotic duty in defending his country from foreign invasion in a context of horrific devastation. Let's not forget the terrible devastation that was inflicted on Germany in World War II in which millions of German soldiers and civilans died. If he had been personally involved in war crimes, notorious or otherwise, that would be a different matter, but actually he was simply a sad sack of a kid soldier, like his friend Kurt Vonnegut was on the Allied side, as the Waffen SS was an ostensibly "elite" branch of the German armed forces, like the U.S. Marines, in which millions served, some toward the end, as with the Confederate Army in 1865, being as young as 12 years old. Yes, he was on the wrong side and it was an historic victory for humanity when the Allies won, but to demonize the rank and file soldiers of Germany and Japan is wrong, and an elitist exercise in fatuous sanctimony, as resposiblity for the War lies with the political and military leaders, not with them. Their personal sacrifice and courage should be acknowledged and merits respect as Clint Eastwood has shown with "Letters from Iwo Jima." Thus Grass' admission that served in World War II in the German Army has little "severity" at all in the context of World War II. Tom Cod 17:19, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
He wasn't. He was stationed in the territory of the "czech protectorate" and never got to fire a shot or seen any of the allies. If you look at the map, you will see that a big pocket inside czech territory was still held by an intact and powerful nazi army when the war ended on 9th May 1945 and Third reich surrendered unconditionally. He was in the very middle of the pocket and never saw a yankee or briton before POW camp.

Also, please note that the following words most certainly passed from Günter Grass'lips:

"Ich schwöre Dir, Adolf Hitler, als Führer und Kanzler des Reiches Treue und Tapferkeit. Ich gelobe Dir und den von Dir bestimmten Vorgesetzten Gehorsam bis in den Tod, so wahr mit Gott helfe."

("I swear to you, Adolf Hitler, as Führer and Chancellor of the German Nation, loyalty and bravery. I vow to you and to my superiors designated by you obedience to the death. So help me God.")

Günter Grass could not have been a member of the Waffen-SS without swearing such an oath to Adolf Hitler.--21:11, 14 August 2006 Auseklis

So what, Hitler was the Head of State of the German Empire. Taking that oath was no more out of the ordinary at the time, sadly, than Americans reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Refusal could have resulted in death. In fact, the Jehovah Witnesses who courageously refused to recite the Pledge in the U.S. in the 50s and suffered much grief for that, were among the view to blatant refuse to give the Nazi Salute and swear their oaths. Over 4000 of them were killed as a result.Tom Cod 18:35, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
Man Living Under Third Reich in Combat Operations Shock (hold that front page). HenryFlower 21:14, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, big deal. Leibniz 21:21, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I imagine that's true. If you have a source, add it to the page to explain why it's controversial, it will go a long way toward explaining the situation instead of this "he's a nazi nazi bad" rhetoric we have above. If you don't have a source, add it to the page and put a citeneeded template on it and I'm certain someone will come up with a citation. --Akhonji 22:17, 14 August 2006 (UTC)


Grass is a, maybe the, major German novelist of the post-war period. I take it that it is appropriate for the Wikipedia entry about him both to mention the fact that he was briefly a member of the Waffen SS at the age of 17 and to mention the fact that he kept quiet about this for most of his life. But it is surely a violation of NPOV for these facts to occupy the proportion of the article that they to. Bristoleast 10:09, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

It seems noone's expanded on the relevant sections yet, that's all. Feel free to add information if you can! 10:49, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
It is surely not balanced due to the fact that the section only quotes negative statements about his "confession", this is no doubt agenda driven. You can find almost the same amount of positive and respectful statements from high profile personalities in Germany. --Asdf01 14:13, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
I think that this is something to definitely consider; the view on the English Wikipedia is probably slanted by systemic bias. If any German editors are able to provide examples to the contrary, that would be keen. However, if a positive view of his disclosure is a minority position (which I don't know if it is, or isn't), that should be reflected in the article. --Akhonji 14:24, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
The comments have both sides here. Some people say that without this point in his vita most of his work would have not been possible. But others state that the moral advices always key point of his work are not authentic anymore. Hellmuth Karasek said that he never got the noble price if he would said this earlier.[5] The worst accusation is that the marketing of the new book should benefit from the anouncement.[6] --Stone 15:15, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
The most positive statement on Grass that I have seen is by Robert Schindel [7]. Leibniz 21:20, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Other notable positive statements exist from Ralph Giordano, Walter Jens, Arnulf Barning, Erich Loest. Asdf01 10:43, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I can't resist pointing out that Robert Schindel's parents were sent to Auschwitz, whilst Walter Jens was a member of the Nazi party. Leibniz 11:37, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

u could also point out that giordano is a jew. but im sure u wont!--Tresckow 23:11, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Das Question[edit]

Heya, this article includes the line:

"As Grass has for many decades been an outspoken left-leaning critic of Germany's treatment of its Nazi past, his statement caused a great stir in the press"

This would not be entirely clear to someone who is not au fait with Grass' past statements. What is his problem with Germany's treament of its Nazi past? Does he think it has shoved it under the rug too much? Or...? Drett 15:01, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

The Nazi past was treated like problems anywere, get the most prominent ones and leave the rest to have people for the government and the administration. The offensive dealing with the past could have been better and he anounced always that we should give or best to overcome the past. But with the scelleton of being member of the Waffen-SS he also had the problems dealing with his own past.--Stone 15:15, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Grass Ratzinger[edit]

Gass said that he was in a POW camp (with 100 000 others) near Bad Aibling together with Ratzinger (Benedikt XVI) and gambled and discussed their future plans.--Stone 15:31, 15 August 2006 (UTC)


While people are looking at this page, this might be a good time to look for a source, if there is one, for the claim that his mother was part Kashubian. That's been appearing and disappearing from the article every so often for the last year or so, with no references that I've seen from either side. HenryFlower 19:17, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Quick googling gave me "Günter Grass was born in Gdansk, Poland (formerly Danzig, Germany), the scene of his several novels. His father owned a grocery and his mother was of Kashubian origin - Slavic people distinct from the Poles both as to language and culture." [8], "the Nobel laureate, Gunther Grass, despite being a German citizen, proudly calls himself a Kashubian." [9], and perhaps the best one, "Günter Grass was born on 16 October 1927 in the then “Free City of Danzig,” now Polish Gdansk. His parents, Willy Grass (1899-1979) and Helene née Knoff (1898-1954) of German and Kashubian-Polish origin respectively, were typical of the mixed ethnic population of pre-war Danzig. They owned a grocery store with an attached apartment in Danzig-Langfuhr. Grass's sister was born in 1930." [10]. DLX 08:16, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Tin Moralist, Wall Street Journal, 16 August 2006, A10[edit]

Tin Moralist

Nobel laureate Gunter Grass, author of the postwar classic "The Tin Drum" and self-styled conscience of Germany, is a darling of the anti-American and anti-globalization set. He is also a former member of Hitler's Waffen SS.

This previously unknown biographical tidbit emerged Saturday, 61 years after the fact. In an interview with the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to promote his forthcoming autobiography, Mr. Grass offered that he volunteered for a U-boat unit in 1943 at age 15, but was turned down. A year later, he was drafted into the Waffen SS, a special unit notorious for its role in the Holocaust. He served in the closing year of the war but the details are still fuzzy. He didn't explain why he kept all this secret, except to say he felt ashamed. Cynics smelled a PR stunt to boost book sales. Others rushed to forgive him. Mr. Grass, after all, was only a teenager in a country at war, and by his own account never fired a shot.

Harder to ignore is Mr. Grass's silence all these years. His fiction as well as his political activism is built around the facts of his life, from his birth in "Free Danzig" to his experiences in wartime and postwar Germany. The new detail on his resume is not exactly small. But it does shed some interesting light on his public moralizing, for which his passion has often seemed greater than for his fiction.

To wit: In that same interview, Mr. Grass remembers that as an American prisoner of war he saw white GIs mistreat black comrades. "All of a sudden," he says, "I was confronted with direct racism." Let's see if we get this straight. A man who just confessed to serving in an elite Nazi unit, who belonged to the Hitler youth and who may have found it hard not to notice the disappearance of Jews from his native Danzig, claims that his first experience of racism came in a U.S. camp. Even in the Waffen SS, Mr. Grass felt morally superior to those damn Yanks, and he still does six decades later.

In 1968, he claimed the U.S. was "continuing war crimes in Vietnam, which, as German war crimes, had been rightly condemned at the Nuremberg Tribunal, including by American judges." Perhaps lowering Americans to the level of Nazis helped Mr. Grass's personal catharsis. Next he sought to establish German moral superiority as a direct result of having once been a Nazi state. In Saturday's interview, Mr. Grass muses about his country's accomplishment in confronting its past, concluding that "winning makes you dumb. The victors think they don't have to deal with the sins of the past."

This is an old Grass theory. Shortly after the start of the Iraq war in 2003, he said that "The word of the current American President 'You are either with us or against us' weighs as an echo of a barbaric era on all current events." He contrasts America's war for "economic interests" and moral decline with Germany's new superiority. "After two world wars with criminal consequences, for which we have to assume responsibility, we have, and it was difficult enough, learned from history and understood the lessons."

Had the U.S. followed Mr. Grass's advice 65 years ago, his career in the Waffen SS might have lasted longer than several months. But in a Continent liberated by American blood and treasure, this "peace" activist can, along with fellow European Nobelists Harold Pinter, Dario Fo and Jose Saramago, bash the U.S. in comfort and freedom.

The Wall Street Journal 08/16/2006
(Copyright (c) 2006, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.) 13:41, 16 August 2006 (Talk)

The above is misleading to the extent that it suggests that the Waffen SS was an elite "unit." Actually it was more akin to a branch of service, like the USMC. While certain units of the SS engaged in damnable atrocities, for the most part it was involved in conventional military operations on different fronts in which millions served, suffered and died, particularly in Russia at places like Stalingrad (Battle of Stalingrad) and Kursk (Battle of Kursk) (See also, Operation Barbarossa).Tom Cod 18:43, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Mr Grass was a National Socialist he then switched to the SPD brand of socialism. His hatred of the "capitalist" United States (the great enemy of "Social Justice") remained - this the real source of his position on the Vietnam war and everything else. He never uttered a word in opposition to the murder of millions of people by the Marxists in Indochina (Vietnam, Laos and North and South Vietnam). (talk) 14:37, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Grass's admission[edit]

First: I removed the following sentence from the introductory description of his works: Grass's wartime novels and Cat and Mouse in particular draw heavily on his own experience as a Luftwaffenhelfer. This earlier assertion by Grass was assumed to be the basis for his character Harry Liebenau's service in a FlaK unit in Dog Years. But by his own admission – as I understand it from media coverage (English and German) – Grass was not a Luftwaffe FlaK auxiliary, but rather was inducted (Der Spiegel used the word conscripted) into the labor service of a Waffen SS panzer unit. He did not volunteer.

Second: I have been a fan of Grass's Danzig Trilogy for many years. It was I who contributed the bit in the article about his "lyrical prose that is highly evocative," and recent events haven't changed my opinion of his very great talent as an author.

Third: Like many others, I was astounded to read Grass's admission that he'd been in Waffen-SS unit – not because such duty was uncommon among German teenagers near the end of the war, but because he'd kept it to himself ever since the war. This was indeed shocking and disappointing, but to my mind does not alter his status in the literature of the WWII and postwar period. To further explain my view of the situation, I offer here comments I sent to an old German friend who lives in London:

The thing that was so astonishing was that he kept it a secret all this time. Such was the opprobrium of the SS. Even so, as an outsider, I would think he would have made an even clearer moral statement early in his career had he divulged this youthful ... mistake? ... early on, say in the late '50s.
Last year I read an interesting short biographical account of the Waffen-SS by one Johann Voss, which may be a pen name, titled "Black Edelweiss" (ISBN:0-9666389-8-0). He volunteered out of misplaced idealism and spent most of the war in Finland/Karelia on purely military duty. Nevertheless, when he wound up in a U.S. POW camp in France at the end, he changed his uniform to regular Wehrmacht and concealed his record. I'm sure many other Waffen-SS survivors did the same.
Of course, I realize that by '44 every German male 16 and over who was physically able (and some who weren't) was compelled to render some sort of military service. And one understands that at 17 one is easily swayed by romantic/nationalistic appeals. An interesting parallel is the character Mahlke in Grass's novella "Katz und Maus," who volunteers for a crack panzer unit at 17 -- possibly Waffen-SS, I don't remember.
But the general public is unlikely to be as understanding about Grass's minor "SS" service as are those who, like me, have read extensively about the era, and who know that the Waffen-SS, though certainly not without guilt, was different from the Allgemeine SS that ran the death camps. So it seems he will to some extent be tarnished by this belated revelation.

Last comment: Lech Wałesa's demand that he renounce his honorary Gdańsk citizenship is predictable but unfortunate and to my mind very sad. In any event, Grass always will be a citizen of the world – and a native of the city of Danzig, which no longer exists. Sca 15:08, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for those thoughtful comments. Just one quick point, I don't think anyone believes that his literary achievements are tarnished by his belated admission (that work stand on its own), but I do think that his endless moralizing and finger-wagging has been thoroughly tarnished and there is going to be a period where Grass catches crap while people put that moralizing and finger-wagging into its proper perspective.--Getaway 15:41, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I think you are conflating different things: Flakhelfer while a pupil, Reichsarbeitsdienst after that, Waffen-SS after that. Certainly, your "labor service of a Waffen SS panzer unit" sounds totally garbled. Leibniz 15:15, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
You have indeed caught me reading too quickly. I misunderstood the following sentence from Spiegel: Grass wurde mit 17 einberufen und kam vom Arbeitsdienst zur Panzerdivision "Frundsberg," die zur Waffen-SS gehörte. However, the sentence before this one did give me the impression that Grass had not been an anti-aricraft auxiliary: Der "Blechtrommel"-Autor war nicht wie bislang bekannt lediglich 1944 als Flakhelfer ingezogen worden.
This information came across on Spiegel's English-language site as: From the middle of 1944 until the end of the war in the spring of 1945, Grass served in the Frundsberg tank division of the elite military outfit. Previously, he had contended that he was a teenage helper of an anti-aircraft unit.
You may be in position to clear up this (minor) question about his service as a Flakhelfer prior to his induction into the Frundsberg Division.

Trivial facts in introduction[edit]

What a Nobel-Prize-winning author did as a kid does not belong in the introduction of his biography. Lots of more important things could be said about Grass, but we cannot have his whole life in the introduction. The introduction shall only provide an overview of his life and work. Details from his childhood are to be described in the biographical section below. Polish nationalist POV pushing will be reverted. -- peterr 16:21, 16 August 2006 (UTC) 16 August 2006 (Polish nationalist POV pushing removed) (talk)

Thank you for your opinion, but it is not about what he did as a 17 year old. Just like Nixon, it was not about the break-in the Democratic HQ, it was the lying and covering up. Grass lied about his true service record for 60 years--while wagging his hypocritical finger at everyone else that did not agree with him. That is what it is about 60 years of sanctimous lying. If he had come clean much earlier like in the 60's even then no one would raising an eyebrow about it. Because folks are raising one, two, three, etc. eyebrows about it it notable and should be mentioned in detail in the article. I don't believe and I don't believe most folks believe that it changes the great contribution that he gave to literature, but it does make his public moralizing look rather pathetic in hindsight. If was just an author then I don't think the sixty year silence would have made a difference, but he acted as a quasi-politician, quasi-moral authority and as such he is going to get re-evaluated. You are welcome to add to article concerning his literary work. (This is part of the note is for the other readers, not Yeah, I know that this is long-winded. Deal with it! :> ) --Getaway 14:45, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

  Polish nationalist POV ?   
  What the fuck is that?
  This is a slender of one of the braviest nation on this planet.
  Are we going to allow some NAZI nationalists to control the history of the second World War?

I would strongly suggest also that someone verify if the ISP numbers are comming from what once was a Eastern Europ or other countries of th world!.

Altough I do agree that the Polish Wikipedia is controled by some Polish fanatics protecting autobiografies of Polish Communists (Alexander Kwasniewski aka. Sacha Stolzman (KGB agent), Walesa, Michnik, Jaruzelski, Kuron) from being corrected and properly reported it doesn't mean that every one is a Polish Nationalist.

Either we keep Wikipedia neutral reflecting the REAL FACTS as they are known, or just remove the controversial articles entirely from the Wikipedia.

I am an American who happens to speak Polish and I do not have any pro Polish Nationalist tendencies.

I do consider however that the statment used above (Polish nationalist POV) is a shovinist discriminatory term which illustrates that some administrators of Wikipedia have some emotional problems when forgot to take their medicines! Why some oxymorons are refusing to admit the historical truth and are playing Wikipedia GODS in an attempt to resculpt the history / biografies to be politically correct, denying the actual well known and verified facts?,35612,3548305.html,34180,3550952.html,34180,3553382.html

Dear peterr/, do not engage in personal attacks. Please review the policy of personal attacks. It is located here: Wikipedia:No personal attacks. You accused my of "Polish nationalist POV pushing." This is personal attack. I'm not Polish, I am an American Indian. I have never been to Poland. I can only speak English and Spanish, I do not know any East European languages. I do not have a dog in any dispute between Poland and Germany. I am vaguely aware of this issues, but I would be hard pressed to discuss them in detail. So, you are making an assumption that is wrong. It is a personal attack and I am now asking you to stop. Also, you are to assume "good faith". You are NOT to assume POV pushing. That is violation of Wikipedia policy. Please review the policy and stop the incorrect allegations. Also, do not start an edit war. You have already used your three reverts for one 24 period. Please be aware of that. --Getaway 16:35, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
The fact that he was in the Waffen-SS is not trivial, as you can see from the stir it is causing. I agree that it should not be in the short lead section, but inserting it there certainly is not "Polish nationalist POV". Please do not attack other contributors in this way (see WP:NPA). If Grass' SS membership is discussed in the introduction, I would suggest to discuss the stir his admission has caused, which is more notable than the fact by itself. Kusma (討論) 16:31, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
… as has now been done by Henry Flower. It now reads well, IMO, and is not inappropriate for the lead. It's surely no less appropriate than mentioning his support for the SPD. Vilĉjo 17:13, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
No. The two items are not of the same importance. His support of the SPD is merely the actions of an individual attempting to influence policy--whether he participated of did not participate in the SDP would not have effected his career. However, the admission undermines much of the hectoring lectures that he gave throughout his 60 year career. Also, there are credible folks that argue that if had released that imformation (the Waffen-SS disclosure) years before he quite possibly would not have won the Nobel Prize at worst or least he would not have been held up as the great, omniscient moral authority that was treated as for 60 years.--Getaway 17:30, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Of course the two items are not of the same importance - that was exactly my point! Whatever impact it may or may not have on one's view of GG, it certainly seemed bizarre for some to be arguing that there should be no mention of the W-SS in the lead, while leaving in the rather less significant SPD stuff. Vilĉjo 17:45, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I misunderstood your point.--Getaway 18:06, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Exacly, his decade-long support and campaigning for the SPD, i.e. his political stance, as an adult is of much more importance than in exactly which part of the German military he served for a couple of months while he was still a kid more than 60 years ago and did not experience anything unusual! 18:04, 16 August 2006 (edit) (Talk)
No. As I pointed out before, his admission, if it had come earlier, would have affected his career significantly--that could be a reason he chose not to disclose it. Also, his hectoring of others look hypocritical now that we know that he was not completely honest himself when he was running around pointing the finger at others, that's why the admission is most significant, important, notable than the SPD work.--Getaway 18:12, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
…though, without wishing to lengthen the lead, it's perhaps worth nuancing the phrase "during World War II", as the previous text did. Vilĉjo 17:21, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Political stance[edit]

One thing is clear about the political opinions of Mr Grass - whether in his National Socialist period or his SPD period. Mr Grass, all his life, supported ever bigger government - he was a collectivist. This is the true source of his anti Americanism. And this should be made clear in the article. (talk) 13:55, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

I have taken out this claim:

"He abandoned his mission of gradual socialist reform through the existing West German political institutions. Grass instead adopted a philosophy of direct action, similar to that advocated by the younger generation of 1968."

Sources? What the hell is "philosophy of direct action"? A twee euphemism for Baader-Meinhof gang terrorism, presumably? Grass was in fact a critic of the 1968 radicals. Leibniz 18:18, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

A critic of the aims, socialist collectivism, of the Baader Meinhof group? Or did Mr Grass (like Saul Alinsky in the United States in relation to the Weathermen terrorists) support their socialist aims, but think their methods tactically unlikely to succeed? (talk) 14:50, 16 April 2015 (UTC)


Does he wear a wig? It sure looks like he does. Revision as of 17:19, 16 August 2006; (Talk)

Maybe Mike Wallace knows whether Grass wears a wig? ;-)
Intersting to note from his prisoner of war record (now pictured with article) that Grass was captured on May 8, 1945 – coincidentally, the day Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally.

Sca 22:34, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Grass's service 1944-1945[edit]

As there has been such a superabundance of content-free bullshit, I'm still trying to sort out the facts.

You can say "bullshit" as much as you like - I am not going to blush at your use of bad language. However, the fact remains that Mr Grass, by his own (eventual) admission, was a supporter of National Socialism - he later switched to the SPD brand of socialism, but he remained a socialist. This was the true source of his hatred for the "capitalist" United States (the great enemy of the "Social Justice" that collectivists support). (talk) 14:44, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

From an interview with the historian Hans-Ulrich Wehler (U Bielefeld) [11]:

"Man muß da unterscheiden: Die Waffen-SS war nicht die SS und wurde von Himmler deswegen aufgebaut, damit sie eines Tages die Wehrmacht schlucken könnte. Wenn der Krieg weitergegangen wäre, hätte die Waffen-SS mehr als eine Million Mitglieder gehabt. Kurz vor Kriegsende waren es 900.000. Das waren ja nicht alles Gläubige. Das eigentliche Dilemma ist nicht die Mitgliedschaft, sondern, daß er sie erst jetzt zugibt."
"Es ist natürlich ein Unterschied ob man freiwilliger oder unfreiwilliger Kriegsteilnehmer war. Grass war, wie wir jetzt wissen, Freiwilliger. Aber von der SS-Division „Frundsberg“, zu der er gehörte, sind keine Gemetzel überliefert, das war eine reine Nachhut-Division."

That is, he makes a distinction between the SS and Waffen-SS, and says the division was not involved in any known war crimes (unlike some others, by the way). I find it significant that a historian makes that distinction, and not some Waffen-SS apologist. And it is not as easy as saying "the Waffen-SS was just a fighting unit" either: consider 3rd SS Division Totenkopf.

According to the POW (I almost wrote POV...) document, Grass was a "Lade-Schütze" in a tank. The correct translation is "loader" or assistant gunner, but it has been pencilled in incorrectly as "rifleman", which would be "Schütze". According to snippets from his forthcoming book, the division was falling to pieces in 45 and he fought as infantry against the Red Army.

The Waffen-SS was a deliberate attempt by Himmler to make the SS look good, by blurring the distinction between what people approved of (fighting for one's country) and other SS activities better not advertised (genocide). I want to know in which of these capacities an individual was involved, although I realise making such fine delineations is a minority pursuit here.

Leibniz 12:59, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Pardon my obtuseness, but is it established that he was a Flakhelfer before he was in the Frundsberg Division, or was this a fabrication on his part? The latter seems to be implied by the Der Spiegel accounts mentioned above. Thanks.
Sca 14:54, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Just because he's in one unit, doesn't mean he didn't have to serve manning flak guns also. At that time many units performed many tasks depending on what was of priority at that moment. EDIT: Sorry, also forgot that as part of serving in the Reichsarbeitsdienst, military training was given, particularly for flak units.--Koncorde 15:57, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
I realize service in one unit doesn't mean he didn't serve in another. But it seems we still don't know for sure, based on reporting of Grass's recent admission, whether he was ever a Flakhelfer as he claimed, or not. The Spiegel syntax appears to dismiss this claim, but does not specifically term it a fabrication. (I'm interested partly for literary reasons.)
Sca 20:53, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
I do not recall anything indicating it was a fabrication. But I agree we still don't know for sure. Leibniz 21:16, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Well, in the German Wiki article, it says: Zuvor hieß es in den veröffentlichten Biografien des Schriftstellers stets, er sei 1944 Flakhelfer geworden und danach als Soldat einberufen worden. But that doesn't clear it up, either. Sca

Now I see what you mean. The 1944 Flakhelfer does not make much sense any more. I assumed it was earlier. Leibniz 22:55, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

  • Well, Dr.phil. Leibniz ("Keks"), please realize that (not only, but above all) in Germany there does exist that very type of a "structural Nazi" -both Augstein, Ed. Der Spiegel, and Zwerenz, free-lanced writer, a left-wing one, named "konstitutioneller Nazi"-, and whenever thinking over what Günter Grass publicly told us for decades, and recently on August 12, 2006, in his FAZ-interview, I´d like to name him a "structural liar". Moreover, and that´s in fact relevant even for en.wikipedia, according to 1944/45 these hard-core-facts produced by US-Army in 1946 and published by Spiegel-online sixty years later - August 15, 2006 - are not only documented but everybody who can read can read [[12]]. The three documents as produced by the US-Army in 1946 and published by the online-edition of the German weeky cearly show, as a matter of fact, that Herr Dr. h.c. Grass i) was an SS-member since Nov.10, 1944, ii) was, as a prisoner of war, captured May 8, 1945, iii) was delivered to another camp Jan. 3, 1946, and ii) was released April 15, 1946 - sincerely MvS

Thank you again. In case someone had asked me, that is a fine specimen of what I was referring to above: Leeres Gesülze. Leibniz 17:29, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Be it as it ever may be, Herr Dr Leibniz: It´s not possible that "Gesülze" is "leer", for, e.g., "Gesülze" is neither a tool like a bucket nor such a sparkler like the brain of a man, but I will accept your apologize for this time that your brain may be "leer" -empty- actually;-); but for (the fire) next time, please, do inform you, in due course, what "contradictio in adiecto" means, y.s., MvS

  • Well, Leibniz, demiurgue of that postmodernist metaphor "Leeres Gesuelze" , here´s the truth, the only truth, and nothing but the very truth: one of the en.wikipedia-chieftains named Dr.phil Leibniz ("der Keks") is really not at all able to grasp elementary rules of logic ... the very best: "Abstinken, der Mann " (Heinrich Mann) - Dr.iur.M.v.Schoene-Bonn


The news states the whole party, also it includes Lech Welsea, and others. Please discuss on talk page and provide citation to claim "only" MP - it's not true. I'm from Poland and you can believe me:>.

I'm going to have take your word for it because as I stated earlier I don't know any East European languages and all I have read is in English from Reuters and other sources and they claim that it is the whole Law & Justice Party that has made that request, Obviously, though, Wałęsa has a much higher profile in the media over here in the States, which makes me tend to believe that Wałęsa did make a call for the honorary citizenship title to be given up. Also, I understand your point (he is in opposition to the Law & Justice Party) about Wałęsa, but that fact does not prove that the ruling party did not make that request. Believe it or not there are Republicans and Democrats that agree on things all the time, for example. --Getaway 19:14, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Wałęsa was a paid confidential collaborator (tajny wspólpracownik) of Security Services ( SB ) in Poland! His credibility is undermined by the fact that he stole NOBEL prize and is a traitor to many Poles! Wałęsa tovaristh "Bolek" was expedited by the special forces by a SPEED BOAT of Polish Navy to suppress the strikes. Lech Wałęsa classiffied as agent with the listing GD 12535 was hired as a confidential agent on December 29, 1970 by the inspector of the II Department in the city of Olsztyn colonel Graczyk. -- (Talk) 03:36, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

There is an interesting article in TSC Daily by Austin Bay (today's edition) that discussed how conspiracy theories "are public ghost stories of a sort, campfire horror tales tarted up with government devils, corporate witches and other demons-of-convenience." It is good reading. You can read the whole thing here: [13]. Cheers,--Getaway 18:51, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Absurd Turn[edit]

The manner in which this article has been hijacked by pointless gossip about Grass' career in the War is absurd. I hate to be the voice of reason amongst children, but Mr Grass' service with the Waffen SS is irrelevant to the vast majority of his career as a writer and campaigner. I find it utterly shocking that you people can reduce this great man's contribution to western culture and politics to a load of nonsense about the War. Grass' was one of hundreds of thousands who had exactly the same experiences. May I also remind you he was merely 17 years old when he signed up.

Waffen SS simply means 'The Army' in the vast majority of cases - one did not need to be an Aryan supremacist to get into the Waffen SS. Having fired some tank shells does not make Grass some flag waving Nazi. If anything he is the total opposite.

If you have any common sense you will reduce this trash about his war record to a minimum and concentrate on what really matters - his works.

Had I lived in a time of war would I have signed up? I probably would have. Like any 17 year old boy I would have loved the idea of a gun or a tank or a fighter plane. I look at this whole episode and the sincerest reaction I have to the pathetic rantings of the liberal-left is "Get over yourselves, you pontificating fools. Big deal, he fought in the did my grandfathers".

This is such immaturity, it really demonstrates a total lack of interest and concern for Grass' contribution. The most aggravating thing about the whole debate in this discussion page is that the majority of the contributors had a) Never even heard of Grass before, and b) Have never read a single thing he has written - they are here merely to feel self important and air their ill-informed and tiresome points of view.Iamlondon 13:19, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Duh. You've just added another screenfull of rant. Stop complaining and add something about his work. Dog Years (novel) is a stub to get you started---just in case you are serious. But writing simplistic guff like 'Waffen SS simply means 'The Army'" is just bait for further "Nazi elite Pantzer SS" rants. Leibniz 14:58, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

  • Beware of pickpockets, tricksters, and academic swindlers, whether they may have got a Ph.D. or not, name themselves today Leibniz or Keks [[14]]], tomorrow Nietzsche or Bahlsen. Moreover, please, look at [[15]], [[16]], and tell me whether this man should be a representative of the en-wikipedia-community any longer, or not; su, 22:12, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Drive-by NOV tagging[edit]

An editor slapped a NOV tag on the article and made no comments on the talk page. He/She did make one comment in the edit summary, that basically stated, "I think so." It is no enough reasoning to justify the tag. There has to be some kind of discussion and effort to fix the article. The response was too random. --Getaway 11:53, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Granted. But I find Kurski (Who he?) and Irving (likewise) equally trivial point-scorers. Why not say they cancel and cut both? Leibniz 14:14, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Although i agree the information on Kurski is of fairly minor importance, I have to disagree about Irving, if you don't know who he is you should click the wikilink and have a look, he's a fairly major American novelist and has been well noted for having a very liberal social outlook and so his defence of Grass is pretty notable. As well as this, I think you're way off the mark when you say that the two comments cancel out, before I added the John Irving section there was information on 3 critics of Grass and none on his defenders which hardly presents a balanced view of the reaction to the whole thing, its still incredibly biased towards his critics now but at least there's one defender listed on the page. Caprosser 14:46, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
No. The information on Kurski is NOT of fairly minor imporatance. Kurski is of fairly minor importance. There is distinct difference. What Kurski is calling for can be left in and attribute the notion to Welsea and Kurski can be removed. Also, Irving is really only famous for The World According to Garp. He will never earn the Nobel Prize for Literature. Cinder House Rules and the others are only famous because people paid attention for a while after Garp. I don't see how a B+ writer from America compares to Welsea, a Nobel laureate. Sure, cut Kurski, but don't cut the point that people are calling for Grass to disavow his honorary citizenship.--Getaway 15:04, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
I sort of agree with both (if that's possible). There have been quite a few people who were supportive or only mildly critical of Grass. We have been there before, see talk. It just looks a bit US-parochial if a minor US celebrity from a wholly different league than Grass is parachuted in to sort out a European mess. Leibniz 15:39, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
To dismiss Irving's defence of Grass on the grounds that he's not really that good an author is ridiculous, regardless of what your opinion of Irving's literary merit the fact remains that he is a notable figure in the literary world and is particularly important in this instance because Grass is considered to be one of Irving's major influences and someone that he has written about a great deal in the past (see Irving's Trying to Save Piggy Sneed if you want an example). To dismiss Irving simply because he's American is also ridiculous and looks completely Euro-parochial, Grass is too major a world literary figure for this issue to simply be considered a European one. Its all very well noting that many people have defended Grass on the talk page but the issue at stake here is what appears on the article and to present views that are only critical of Grass and none in his defence is completely POV. Caprosser 00:44, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
No. I offered an alternative, which is Walsea. --Getaway 01:00, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Er, Walsea isn't defending Grass, the article already says "Lech Wałęsa has severely criticized Grass for keeping silent about his membership for 60 years" so I'm not sure what you mean by that. Caprosser 01:19, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
If Irving is so insignificant and only remembered for Garp, then what about his winning the 2000 Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay? Irving has always acknowledged his own literary debt to Grass. A Prayer for Owen Meany is a critique of US war policy in the past. The hero is a diminutive male who carves gravestones... sound familiar? (Trevek 12:20, 25 October 2007 (UTC))

Grass's statement[edit]

Günter Grass makes the following statement in his forthcoming memoirs (English translation from English-language site of Der Spiegel):

"What I had openly accepted with the foolish pride of my youth was the very same thing I wanted to conceal from myself with a delayed sense of shame after the war. But the burden remained, and no one could make it lighter. True, the war crimes later revealed were never heard of during my training time as a tank rifleman - a training time that dulled my mind for all of that fall and the following winter. But while I didn't know of these specific crimes, I did know I was part of a system that had planned, organized and carried out the destruction of millions of people. Even if I allowed myself to be convinced that I hadn't contributed actively, something - all too easily called complicity - has remained until today. I will certainly have to continue living with it during my remaining years."

To my mind, this comports with views I expressed above. The issue is not about the fact that he was in a Waffen-SS unit at age 17, but that he kept quiet about it until he was 79. Whether he fabricated the bit about being a Flakhelfer remains unclear, to me at least.

Sca 15:22, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

An opinion[edit]

Daniel Kehlmann, writing in Der Spiegel, observes:
Involvement in the Nazi system, even among the youngest Germans of the time, was more widespread than we have previously wanted to perceive, and many aspects of the era's crimes even now lie buried in silence. They are crimes that few books chronicle so well as "The Tin Drum," "Cat and Mouse" and "Dog Years."
Later, Grass changed, and his novels changed, too, becoming didactic and colorless. These weaker books will be effaced by the passage of time. His earlier novels, however, which tell of the deep corruptibility of human beings, of the coexistence of mendacity and greatness and of the infinitely complex nature of guilt, will be with us for as long as people read books.
I agree. The Danzig Trilogy of "The Tin Drum," "Cat and Mouse" and "Dog Years" will remain a masterful portrayal of human foibles in the distinct cultural and historical setting of Danzig, which is no more.
Sca 01:26, 24 August 2006 (UTC)


This whole discussion has become senseless. I fully accept that at the age of 17, in the last months of the war, Guenther Grass, was a member of Waffen-SS, whether conscripted (very likely) or not. Too much is being made of his not publicizing this, even though he did mention in his autobiography. Clearly, he was ashamed of it, and didn't want to talk about it.

Syrenab 14:53, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

The international hubbub over the whole thing is indeed exaggerated. Still, as a longtime Grass fan, I'd like to know whether he lied about being a Flakhelfer. Sca 17:19, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Enough?! Grass has never been properly called to account for his war record. Now that we know he was indeed an eager volunteer in the SS he should be held up to public scrutiny for the rest of his life. He has lied and hidden his uber-Nazi past for the previous 60 years, so I don't see why he should be let off with a light "oh well, turns out he was willing fascist storm trooper - but don't worry, he writes some nice books so we'll overlook his murderous past". Now that his story about being an unwilling conscript to the HJ has been revealed as a fake, we should be asking more quesitons about the motivation behind his literary efforts to recast the Germans as victims of WW2. He should be hounded about these revelations until his dying day - and if at all possible called to account for the war crimes committed by him and his comrades in the vile Schutzstaffel. Only then can we say "enough". --Corinthian 15:47, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
What war record? Where do you get "uber-nazi"? He wasn't Schutzstaffel, he was in Waffen SS. A 17 yo kid who got drafted. Right, got to be uber-Nazi. Please get your facts even remotely right. DLX 18:33, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
The Waffen-SS was the military wing of the Schutzstaffel - it was under the direct control of the SS Headquarters just like all other branches of the SS. It was also manned by volunteers, not conscripts. At Nuremburg, the Waffen-SS was found to be criminal, and to this day those who served in it are denied benefits given to Wehrmacht soldiers. The Waffen-SS was guilty of many war crimes and atrocities. So your attempt to paint the Waffen-SS as a lovely cuddly organisation filled with "innocent" draftees just itching to become post-war literary figures is totally incorrect. ALL elements of the SS were foul, and all were bulwarks of extreme Nazi fanatacism. You must either be a German, or a Nazi-apologist to even attempt to rehabilitate the Waffen-SS in this way.--Corinthian 18:55, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Corinthian you should really check your facts before making outlandish accusations and insinuations. We do not know that Grass was an "eager volunteer" as you said, in fact the only evidence we have suggests otherwise, sure I respect anyone's right to doubt the evidence seeing as it generally comes from Grass himself but there is no way you can say you "know" something which there is no evidence for. Same goes for uber-Nazi. As for hounding him to his dying day, yes you're absolutely right we should do that, just like we did with all those other nazi ss scum, like Wernher von Braun for example... As for the Waffen-SS, yes you're right that it was the military wing of the SS and came under its control but you're mistaken when you say it was an all volunteer organisation. While that was true originally, once the Nazi's discovered they weren't getting enough recruits they did introduce conscription for the SS, and it is important to note that the conscripts were specifically exempted from punishment after the SS was declared illegal after the war. Trying to paint Grass as guilty of war crimes simply because he was a member of an organisation that did commit horrific war crimes is frankly ridiculous. By your logic all Vietnam vets are war criminals because of what happened at My Lai or even the contemporary American military for what went on at Abu Ghraib and I think you'll agree (I hope) that's ridiculous. As for saying that someone would have to be german to try and "rehabilitate" the SS (which no one is trying to do anyway) is racist and ridiculous. Please grow up and realise that situations are rarely black or white and questions of morality are rarely easily solved. Caprosser 04:51, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
Corinthian, please stop personal attacks - see WP:NPA. Then go and check your facts. Nazi is a member of National Socialist German Workers Party. Grass was 17, he couldn't even be a member of the party (actually, there were some younger members if my memory serves me right, but those were special cases), he was in Hitlerjugend. He tried to volunteer to U-boats, but was turned down (that happened when he was 15). Later he was conscripted (not volunteered!) into Reichsarbeitsdienst and was afterwards transferred to Waffen SS. There is no records whatsoever showing that he was involved in any war atrocities.
I see a youngster, who wanted to be on submarines. Then he got drafted for labor service and finally transferred to Waffen SS. Same happened to thousands of German youngsters at the end of WWII. I fail to see him as a Nazi, war criminal or "despicable" - he had no choice in this. And if you now say that he could have run away, please see how US soldiers who try not to participate in Iraqi occupation are welcomed.
Only thing about Grass's being in WWII is that he didn't come out about the Waffen SS in 60 years. But even in that, I can understand. You don't make yourself exactly more popular by saying that you were in the German army. There are thousands German with the same kind of "skeleton in the back closet".He wouldn't have received Nobel price - even though no one disputes the value of his books is unchanged.
And therefore, I must just agree with "enough already". DLX 07:30, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
Getting back to talking about the article, are there reliable sources saying that he was conscripted into the Wafen-SS? If not, shouldn't the article say that he served in the Wafen-SS, without claiming that he volunteered or that he was conscripted? Andjam 08:50, 2 September 2006 (UTC)


I agree completely with DLX's comments above, but I think it's pointless to respond to such injudicious and inane comments as those left by 'Corinthian.' Why dignify this sort of comment — apparently from a non-User — with a reply? Indeed, why keep it on this page?
Sca 16:13, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
Roger Cohen contributed an excellent commentary on this issue in the New York Times Sept. 6, in which he observed:
Humanity is double. Just as love and hate reside in proximity to each other, the noble and the abject are not distant neighbors. We may wish that it were otherwise, but purity is not always or even often the midwife of beauty. While the moralists bay at each other in this age of faith- driven certainties, the novelist explores the ambiguities that are the painful heart of human nature.
Sca 13:54, 7 September 2006 (UTC)


I find the article unbalanced in that it dedicates an enormous amount of space to the Waffen-SS controversy. Grass is one of the greatest living writers. A lot more should be said of his literary contributions.

--Larean01 12:18, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Unbalanced Seconded[edit]

This page is a total disgrace. While I do agree that it is important to note the Waffen SS issue and represent it fairly and from a balanced view point, but this does not mean it should be the core of the article on this man. One paragraph, one measly paragraph on the Nobel Prize for literature. What a disgrace.

What a totally warped article this is. In no way is this encyclopedic. This article is just as wikinazi as the man is being accused himself of being.

This article is clearly run by one of wikiality's many cabals. It's jaundiced, prejudiced, wikiized "truth".

Nazism, and the distortion of truth is pure evil whether it comes from a writer or from wiki editors. These days it's much more common to find Nazis on wikipedia than it is jackbooting through streets in uniform.

The Waffen SS were pure evil. But so it seems are some of the editors of Wikipedia, and the twisted cabals they represent.

Agreed. I "third" this. I am not a person with a left-leaning past and I might be expected to belong to a grouping who has a loathing for Grass, but his political orientation and his abilities as a writer are two different things. The way the Grass article currently stands is a laughing stock, totally disproportionate. No empathy either. As a person with a German / Kashubian past and in view of the way that the minds of young people were wired at first during the war and then rewired after the war (first the Hitlerian brainwashing, then the reeducation and the remorse), people might consider giving the man somewhat of a break. Are his works lacking in humanity? Of course not. What I really wish to say is that someone within the Wikipedia apparat (a senior editor, I don't know how tenure is attained, perhaps Jimmy Wales or his anointed right hand person), should jump in here and set the imbalance straight. The man is a writer of great stature and at present (December 07) the whole center of balance is off. Yes, the SS consideration should not be glossed over. Should it be the axle around which this treatment turns? No. Scrap some of the current SS center of gravity (don't ignore it) and restore balance to the item. Knowing Grass, methinks, he was embarrassed and confused, although a smidgen of opportunism probably exists with most authors. Wanting to be a success is a human trait. I see him as a convoluted but great author, even if his world view doesn't suit me. --Sean Maleter (talk) 21:42, 20 December 2007 (UTC)


Did West Germany "annex" East Germany? I think it's better to speak about reunification, not annexation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Fafifurnik (talkcontribs) 22:00, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Two WP:Undue sections[edit]

The sections on both the 2012 poem (also suffering from recentism) and his teenage membership in the Nazi are absurdly WP:Undue, especially since the Tin Drum gets exactly one sentence. Too many articles are filled up with some editor's hobby horses and it's really unencyclopedic. CarolMooreDC 19:44, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

I agree and I was thinking the same myself. The long section on the debate on his military service is also redunant because this is covered in the early life section. I'm taking the liberty of shortening this material significantly now. Josh Gorand (talk) 20:32, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
I can see one paragraph on his military service with references in the early life section, including mentioning later controversy. Similarly a couple sentences on the poem. (Though there should also be sections on a couple of his other works which are notable enough to have articles.) If there is little material and no references on either it just begs for someone to either put back all or most of the same material. CarolMooreDC 20:37, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
It could be slightly expanded (I'm looking into this now), although a very detailed discussion like the one that was just removed is out of place for an article like this. The section didn't really focus on his military service as such, but rather on the recentism-like debate in the media a couple of years ago. The main issue back then, was that he was criticized, mainly by the political right-wing, of hypocrisy. Josh Gorand (talk) 20:44, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
Good move to make it its own article, especially since this interesting development[17]. I have a feeling there's more that can be put under social activism. Busy with other things but might expand early life section if you do not. CarolMooreDC 20:50, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
I would not support a fork in the article. We should resolve this here. The idea is to work collaboratively. Span (talk) 22:21, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
There is no fork anywhere. Josh Gorand (talk) 23:29, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
Since other of his works have their own article and there was quite a bit on his newest one, creating an article was a natural alternative and if it had occurred to me I would have suggested it. CarolMooreDC 12:37, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
The major defect in the article is that the two sections on his SS-Waffen enrolment and the 2012 appear as WP:Undue violations only because Grass's extraordinary literary career and his novels have been almost totally neglected by editors. In a biography, of the modern 500 page sort, these episodes will account for 3 pages at most, and are indeed trivial compared to his life achievements. However, they can't be elided or forked because the literary section is underdeveloped. The Waffen SS-bit should be done in 3-4 lines (compare someone like Hans-Dietrich Genscher or Pope Benedict XVI with a similar background, or the parallel pages of Israeli politicians who were militant terrorists at one stage of their careers, like Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin), where the 'controversial' aspect is muted). Much of the basic legwork could be done by simply translating the German wiki article.Nishidani (talk) 09:41, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

None of the people you mention (such as Pope Benedict) were members of the Waffen SS. Mr Gunter Grass stated that he believed in the aims of the Hitler Youth till the end of the war - i.e. the aims of the, collectivist (Social Justice supporting), National Socialist party. Mr Grass remained a socialist (he simply switched brand to the SPD) and, therefore, his hatred of the "capitalist" United States (the great enemy of collectivist "Social Justice") also remained. (talk) 14:15, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

There already was quite a bit in the article just removed yesterday from which another couple sentences could be drawn, leaving it in the early life section. CarolMooreDC 12:37, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

First translations published in national newspapers of various nations[edit]

Can someone please add the dates and references for when translations were first published in national newspapers (as opposed to websites of said newspapers) in Spain and Italy?

(Link to the appropriate section, [18]). -- (talk) 07:33, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

"What Must Be Said"[edit]

If you are claiming legal reason for persona non grata is not important and factually incorrect, find sources for your claim. The current version is properly sourced.--AsiBakshish 18:52, 11 April 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by AsiBakshish (talkcontribs)

It's evident to everyone that he was declared persona non grata because of his poem, not because of his involuntary military service as a conscripted child soldier 67-68 years ago which he himself disclosed years ago. The fact that he was declared persona non grata as a result of the publication of the poem suffices for this article. The rest is just factually inaccurate (he has never been a member of the Nazi party or any other Nazi organisation, a conscript is not a member of anything) propaganda of some extreme-right party in a country Grass has never visited and probably has no intention of ever visiting, and does not merit any extensive mention in the biography of one of the world's most famous living writers. Josh Gorand (talk) 20:16, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
User Josh Gorand is not being objective. They seem to have a personal agenda regarding the article about Gunter Grass and I suggest that this user be asked not to contribute their subjective opinion to the article. The Der Spiegel source in the article clearly reads the following: "Er habe sich freiwillig gemeldet, erklärt der Schriftsteller im "FAZ"-Gespräch, "aber nicht zur Waffen-SS, sondern zu den U-Booten, was genauso verrückt war". Dort hätte man aber niemanden mehr genommen, die Waffen-SS habe jedoch in den letzten Kriegsmonaten 1944/45 genommen, "was sie kriegen konnte"." (see,1518,431333,00.html). If user Josh Gorand speaks any German, they will understand immediately that the first five words of this quote from the Der Spiegel source read that Gunter Grass was a volunteer (not a conscript) and that he attempted initially to join the submarine divison of the German naval forces but ended up in the Waffen-SS because the navy did not accept any volunteers at the time (while the Waffen-SS did take anyone they could get their hands on - refer to Der Spiegel article, and quote from this article above). The same source further states clearly that Gunter Grass, at the time, regarded the Waffen SS an elite unit - prior to my first contribution to the Grass article, Grass' encounter with the Waffen-SS was described as "only to find out that it was the Waffen SS when he arrived" (see [revision]). While I respect the fact that Josh Gorand obviously holds high esteem for Grass as a writer, user Josh Gorand should not be allowed to misrepresent published facts (e.g. Grass was a volunteer, NOT a conscript) or ban other published facts that paint a less favourable picture of Grass in his early years (the fact that Grass did all this 67-68 years ago does not change the fact that he carried out these actions). Edit: apologies for not signing. --Somename somewhere (talk) 21:14, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Conscripted / drafted in the Waffen SS[edit]

I have reviewed the sources. For each source in this article, the ultimate source is the Günter Grass himself, which is quoted in the provided links. This does not correspond to my own research on World War II, during which a large part of my family was killed. It was quite difficult to get in the Waffen SS, as opposed to the Wermacht. Nobody was "drafted" in the Waffen SS. The units of the Waffen SS were no better than those of the Allgemeine SS, even though they often did have to fight against people who could actually defend themselves. The numerous slaughters of villages in Russia were done by the Waffen SS. These were nearly systematic. [BLP violation removed]. The units that did not were stationed in Germany and in the West. I think that this article is very, very POV. [BLP violation removed]. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jabial (talkcontribs) 09:46, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Please review Wikipedia's policy on original research. Cheers, Sindinero (talk) 10:05, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
In fact, in an interview to the New York Times in 2000, he said "“I belonged to the Hitler Youth, and I believed in its aims up to the end of the war,”. In other words, he was a nazi, which was why he was accepted in the Waffen SS. [19] -- Jabial (talk) 10:08, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I think Jabial's main point is whether anyone was directly conscripted or if the process was more complex. We work by citing and discussing specific reliable sources. The above NYT article doesn't refute the assertion of drafting. It is not WP's role to condemn or praise the subject, but to present a neutral account. Span (talk) 10:48, 15 April 2012 (UTC) You do not present a "neutral account" - you assume that Mr Grass was "drafted" or "conscripted" (because the man claimed he was conscripted) - you also call his support for ever bigger government (whether in his time as a supporter of the National Socialist party or is his time as a supporter of the SPD) as "democratic reform" - an absurdly biased name for ever higher taxes, and ever more government spending and regulations. (talk) 14:22, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
Please review the policy I mention above. There's a big difference between being indoctrinated within a youth organization and being a member of a political party... Sindinero (talk) 10:37, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I won't go into an edit war in Wikipedia. I don't do squabbles. This is why I posted in the talk section rather than in the article itself. However, he was a Waffen SS and served in Poland. Nobody can pretend in 2012 not to know what the Waffen SS, which were part of the nazi party and not of the regular army, and which was very selective, did in Poland. He was no longer a child. He was necessarily very well noted for political opinions in the Hitlerjugend or he wouldn't have been allowed to enter the Waffen SS. I think that the people who think he was not a war criminal are very, very naive. He "confessed" what was already impossible to hide. When the Russians, God bless them, entered Berlin, everybody was a communist. -- Jabial (talk) 14:34, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
In 1944 the Waffen-SS took every combat capable man they could get their hands on to fill their ranks. There was no special selection anymore. You should invest some time to research history, especially the war situation in 1944 and later. Not every german in this era was a Nazi. --Denniss (talk) 15:08, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Jabial, please find a reliable source that shows Grass was a war criminal, and then we can include this in the article. Until then, do read up both on wikipedia's policy of original research and the history of WWII. Cheers, Sindinero (talk) 23:24, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
The phrasing "In 1944 the Waffen-SS took every combat capable man they could get their hands on to fill their ranks" is not wrong, but missleading, as this includes drafts of school pupils. While obviously physically capable of shooting a gung one can argue about these people being combat capable.-- (talk) 10:52, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

The user who started this discussion is reminded, and warned, that WP:BLP applies to articles as well as talk pages of articles on living persons. In accordance with the BLP policy, libelous statements have been removed. The user is also reminded of the policy on no original research and the policy on the use of talk pages, WP:SOAP. Josh Gorand (talk) 00:31, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Anexation of Gdańsk/Danzig? Is it a some kind of a sad joke?[edit]

In section Early Lfe it is said that Gdańsk/Danzig was annexed!? Gdańsk WAS from its beginings in early Middle Ages a slavic/pomeranian/polish city. Wich you can see evan in such a "source" as Wiki. See section history of Gdańsk. After a yers in Poland Gdańsk/Danzig was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia in 1793!!! So how can it be annxed in 1945? It can be said that after a long years of germanisation and oppression of Poles (see for example hakata) it was reunified with the Poland. You have to remamber german Operation Tannenberg which was carefuly planned (before the II War) ekstermination of Poles (in areas still occupied by germans after the partition!)

Why is there no detail about his earlier life as a Nazi?[edit]

Since Grass is an obvious anti-Semite, I thought it would be useful information to have a description about this evil man who tried to exterminate my people. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:34, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

His activity with the Nazi's is detailed in the 'Early Life' section. Span (talk) 20:48, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
I wouldn't call it "detailed". I would described as "barely mentioned" despite the global press coverage surrounding the revelation. Vapour (talk) 04:54, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

It only has one line. Where's the information for why he hated Jews, how many Jews did he murder, controversy, etc? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:04, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

It's mentioned in two paragraphs. There is lots of discussion about this above. Wikipedia does not set out to condemn or praise the subjects of the articles. We aim for a neutral point of view appropriate to an encyclopaedia. Span (talk) 21:42, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
And that should mean presenting the issue with NPOV, not censoring it. The issue gained global coverage by the press so its notability is beyond dispute. "the controversy overshadow his literally achievement" is a pro Grass POV. Surely, the right way to correct undue balance in this instance is to expand section on his literary and political writing. Plus, many commentator stated that the revelation cast new light on his past literary and political writing. So this censorship do disservice to overall contents of this article. Vapour (talk) 04:49, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

Ah, so you just follow orders, eh? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:42, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

Anti-Israel Bias in the Article[edit]

In regard to Grass’s poem Was gesagt werden muss, the only note of reaction is that Israel declared him persona non grata. I detect a subtle anti-Israel bias in omitting the firestorm of criticism of Grass over the poem from within Germany itself, reaching high political circles, as well as international criticism. The way it reads now, it sounds like the Israelis are being taken to task for trying to promote censorship of criticism of the nation as their predictably hostile reaction appears in a vacuum.

If no one objects, I am going to add note of such criticism (as well as a lesser degree of support) within a week or so. Comments are appreciated.HistoryBuff14 (talk) 17:02, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

We did go through all this. The decision was to split the poem into a separate article and cover the issues fully there. We spent a long time hashing it all out and finding some consensus position, fully referenced by strong sources. I recommend looking at the poem's article and bringing any proposed changes to the talk page. Cheers. Span (talk) 21:50, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll do that presently.HistoryBuff14 (talk) 13:40, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Grass visual arts work[edit]

Hello, as a Wpedia editor today I happened today to check the Grass page for the first time. Besides the summaries of recent controversies whose summaries struck me as fairly balanced I found Wikepedia's failure to acknowledge his significant graphic work quite inexplicable and incompetent.

After triying to make a corrective entry including a web citation of a random show of his graphic art and a statement about its neglect, my entry was briefly displayed, then removed.

How is the Grass page managed by Wikipedia, and exactly by whom, upon what standards? How can the complete absence of his graphical works ever be excused? This oversight and obstinance severely tests one's confidence in Wikipedia.

W, Woodward Williamstown, Mass — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bwberlin (talkcontribs) 02:33, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

The Grass page is not 'managed' by Wikipedia, but by editors like you and me. Many articles are lacking and need expansion in important areas. That's not an "oversight" on anyone's part nor a lack of competence (q.v.), but simply indicates work that's still to be done. I was the one who reverted your changes, because your edits disrupted syntax throughout the article. Please feel free to make use of the sandbox to test out your edits and wikipedia syntax before making live changes to an article. As I've said on your talk page, I support the general impulse to add mention of Grass' visual art to this page, but please do so in a way that doesn't harm other parts of the article. I suggest reading up on how wikipedia works, and checking out the help desk or the WP:Teahouse. I heartily welcome anyone who wants to improve articles on literary topics, and look forward to your future contributions. Sindinero (talk) 02:49, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Images for the "printable version"[edit]

In my browser, the printable version has two pages with nothing but the infobox and the images as a column on the right, and the text starts at page 3. The location/position of the images should be changed (completely); some be put on the left and further down or both. --Schwab7000 (talk) 11:21, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Why Waffen-SS controversy barely mentioned?[edit]

I came to read more about it here and a bit taken back by the fact this article mention only in passing that he was a member and there was a controversy. This kinda a smack of censorship by fanboys. Surely, the right way to correct undue balance is to expand his literally and political view section rather than censor this controversy, whose notability is beyond doubt from global press coverage. Plus his literally material as well as political view are so much related to WWII era, and many, at the time of controversy, commented that the revelation cast new light on his literally and political writing. Whether this amount to hypocrasy (yes, imo) or overshadow his literally achievement (no, imo) should be left up to the readers, not wikipedia editors. Vapour (talk) 04:42, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

Conservative Critics[edit]

Under Waffen-SS revelations it states that Grass was "publicly critical of Germany's Nazi past, unlike many of his conservative critics."

Shouldn't there be some outside reference to these critics and their statements? This phrase strongly implies that many of his critics are Nazi sympathizers. I would think that this is a statement requiring some support. DrDuav (talk) 16:13, 28 April 2013 (UTC)DrDuav

Gunter Grass as Visual Artist[edit]

As an occasional but knowledgeable contributor to Wikipedia, concentrating on multi-talented artists worldwide, e.g. the Slovene architect Joze Plechnik and the Nicaraguan painter Armando Morales, I tried in 2013 to add a small section to the Gunther Grass Wikipedia entry covering his modest but real and significant work in the visual arts, mainly engraving. My contribution was immediately removed by an unknown editor. When I challenged the removal, the editor refused to identify himself. I assumed that the controlling editor would eventually recognize the need for a modest recognition of Grass's work in the visual arts and add a section.

Today after various additions/corrections in other esteemed artists Wikipedia entries, I checked the Grass entry and found, after two years had passed, nothing had been added on his works in the visual arts. This omission is seriously wrong, and foreshortens Grass's life and character. The controlling editor's judgment is thus deeply questionable. I hereby challenge whomever has monopolized the control of the Grass Wikipedia entry to identify himself and explain why Grass's material output in the visual arts has been omitted. Otherwise, as a major Wikipedia donor, I will escalate to senior Wikipedia management to get to the bottom of this scurrilous censorship of Grass's life.

Hoping for a speedy and just resolution. William Woodward Williamstown, Massachussetts, US-01267 Bwberlin (talk) 04:17, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Citation request for bibliography[edit]

Requesting citations for the entries in a list of published works of a major author is absurd. Each entry IS a citation to the work in question and can be verified with anyone with half a brain. In this case it can only be considered a WP:POINT violation that an editor editwars to tag the entire seciton of citations to Grass' works as uncited. At this point I am willing to attribute it to incompetence rather than malice. But not in the long run. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 20:53, 13 April 2015 (UTC)


Grass was the author of "The Tin Drum". Today's featured article is about a Japanese drum that is sometimes made of tin. What do you think? 1234567890Number2 (talk) 14:42, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

"of Kashubian ethnicity"?[edit]

If his father was German and his Mother Kashubian, then he is of mixed descent and the phrase is misleading. Also the sources don't really bear out the claim. One is a Polish article boldy asserting that Grass "always" identified as Kashubian. Such a generalized remark would need to be sourced with at least one or two statements by Grass himself in order to be credible. Also the expression "schnauzbärtiger Kaschube" (moustached Kashub) in the German article really isn't proper source either, that's a commentor trying to sound original and making assertions, not even claiming to cite Grass. Unless we have a reliable source where Grass can be shown to actually have identified as "of Kashubian ethnicity", that particular phrase is not warranted. --Johannes Rohr (talk) 12:04, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

I'm not sure that "of Kashubian ethnicity" and "of mixed descent" contradict each other. Certain is that Grass is often described as "schnauzbärtiger Kaschube", not only in the cited Focus article. The demand that Grass identify himself as Kashubian runs counter to WP:PRIMARY – secondary sources win – and shows lack of familiarity with his best known work, The Tin Drum. The current wording in the article is clumsy, but correct & relevant. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 12:22, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
This is not about orginal research, but about providing a reliable source. What I would demand is e.g. a reference to an interview where Grass states his self-identification or to a biography which says so. An offhand remark by a commentator certainly doesn't "win" here. Now, the biographic fact is, that he was of mixed descent (not sure why you think this is a "clumsy" expression, as far as I can see, it is stylistically neutral). That's what can be stated as a fact. The only way you could state factually that he was "of Kashubian ethnicity" would be if you understand "ethnicity" as meaning "ethnic self-identification" and you have some evidence, that Grass actually did see this as he primary identity. But no such source has been provided. --Johannes Rohr (talk) 12:54, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
(Re "What I would demand is e.g. a reference to an interview where Grass states his self-identification"): In an interview with Erhard Kluge from Deutsche Welle in 1997 (transcript), Grass is asked whether he is proud of his Kashubian-German, multicultural origin and responds "I wouldn't say that I'm proud of it, but I am certain that this double-rootedness has made me rich. I am equipped with several sources [...]" ("Ich will nicht sagen, daß ich stolz bin, aber ich bin gewiß, daß mich diese doppelte Verwurzelung reich gemacht hat. Ich verfüge über mehrere Quellen. [...]". ---Sluzzelin talk 14:03, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Which really doesn't corroborates the claim that he "always said he was Kashubian". Clearly he always emphasized his mixed decent. The claim that he "indentified as Kashubian" without further qualification is therefore misleading. --Johannes Rohr (talk) 12:57, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Grass self-identified as Kashubian, as demonstrated by the cited source. An argument that he "wasn't really a full Kashubian" is like an argument that someone who self-identifies as Jewish "is only a quarter-Jew" or "half-Jew". I don't know of any Wikipedia article where we dismiss someone's ethno-cultural self-identification on account of the fact that only one of their parents belonged to the relevant group. Tadeusz Nowak (talk) 13:50, 15 April 2015 (UTC),75475,17744558,Gunter_Grass_nie_zyje__Noblista_mial_87_lat.html#ixzz3XDIG5oiR which says: "Pytany o tożsamość narodową, mówił, że jest Kaszubą" (when asked about his ethnicity, he always said that he is Kashubian). Tadeusz Nowak (talk) 13:54, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

If his mother was Kashubian or his father was Kashubian or if both parents aren't Kashubian at all... all this doesn't matter, as long as he claim himself as Kashubian. We are all kind of "mixed descent", aren't we? But it's not up to others to say what I am. It's simply not their business! I am born in French and I am French and it doesn't matter if my parents are black and they were born in sub-Saharan Africa. But seemingly for some people in Wikipedia I am not a real Frenchman.-- (talk) 19:09, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Let's list JFK as German, he clearly claimed Ich bin ein Berliner. (talk) 04:18, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
No, we have to list him as Irish, he clearly have no American ancestors, all of them were Irish. So he isn't even mixed!-- (talk) 06:09, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Well ok, now it says, he "identified as Kashubian", which is less wrong than "he was of Kashubian ethnicity", but still wrong enough. It is still not born out by the provided sources, because he clearly refused to pick sides, here he clearly emphasizes his mixed inheritance ("doppelte Verwurzelung"), so, pushing him towards one side is not warranted. --Johannes Rohr (talk) 12:57, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

I have changed it again to do justice to his own stated mixed identity. I would urge you to leave it that way, unless you really have a source where he point blank says that "I identify as Kashubian", else this is pov pushing. --Johannes Rohr (talk) 13:13, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

lead lacks mention of Waffen-SS membership[edit]

Per guidelines the lead should mention all major facets of article. Announcement of membership has had relevant authorities in field debating the moral basis of Grass's work. This makes the SS memebership important to the topic of the article. Yet it's currently lacking. One solution;

"German novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, sculptor, recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature and member of Waffen-SS 1944-1945." (talk) 01:45, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
Try reading the next paragraph of the lead.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 05:09, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

ethnicity//felt ethnictiy[edit]

his mother was kashubian, so he is of kashubian ethnicity. his father was german, so he is of german ethnicity. if grass (or rather you guys) like it or not. another question would be the "felt identity" or the "self-image". you can open up this new category and write "self-image: kashubian". but your category is called "ethnicity". if ethnicity is only about how one feels, then you guys have to turn kurt cobain into irish, for he didnt feel american at all and when he was touring around ireland he was so sentimental and said that he felt that this was his real home. and if i feel bavarian and not german, do i by this feeling lose my german ethnicity? no of course not, how could this be possible?

lets keep to the facts — Preceding unsigned comment added by Malzkorn (talkcontribs) 15:56, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

besides: the polish source does itself not provide any sources for the mere claim that he saw himself as kashubian. its typically polish to make germans not german. look at beethoven. on the polish side he is called partly flemish because one of his grandparents was flemish, while chopin is just called polish although chopin even had a french father and was half french. or mozart: his father was german, but the polish page doesnt accept to mention this, while all german football players who have one not german parent are turned into germans of xy-origin (compare sami khedira, jonathan tah, karim bellarabi, antonio rüdiger, mario gomez etc) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Malzkorn (talkcontribs) 16:06, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

the article in footnote 9 says exactly: he liked to call himself kashubian. the article in footnote 3 does not say anything about his selfimage, theres just one journalist calling him kashubian. there are many other journalists calling him german, so is that a proof of his german ethnicity, too? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Malzkorn (talkcontribs) 12:41, 27 May 2016 (UTC)