21 Jul 2007

Daily Link for 2007/07/21

Posted by dumpendebat

A few weeks ago, I posted a link to an excerpt from Peeling the Onion, the newly-translated memoir of Günter Grass. There’s a review of Peeling the Onion in the NYRB.

When interviewers have pressed him on this issue [i.e. his Waffen-SS past], the answers have been vague and unsatisfactory. “It oppressed me,” he told Frank Schirrmacher of the FAZ, in the original interview that sparked last summer’s furor. “My keeping silent over so many years is among the reasons for writing this book. It had to come out, at last.” Why only now? asked Ulrich Wickert of the German television channel ARD. “It lay buried in me. I can’t tell the reasons exactly.” At the Leipzig book fair this spring, he mused that he had to find the right literary form for this confession, and that, he said, meant waiting until he was of an age to write an autobiography. As if that explained a sixty-year silence.

In the absence of a convincing explanation from Grass himself, let me attempt an inevitably speculative answer. Perhaps he just missed the moment. Had the fact of his brief conscript service in the Waffen-SS come out in Wagenbach’s biography in the mid-1960s, it would simply have become part of his story. The suggestion that he would never have been awarded the Nobel Prize if he had confessed to teenage conscript service in the Waffen-SS seems to me far-fetched. But as time went by; as more and more became known about atrocities committed by the Waffen-SS; as, after 1968, the condemnation of the way an older generation had covered up the Nazi past became ever louder; as Grass himself became one of the most strident voices in that chorus; so the price tag on the belated revelation became ever higher. Luther says somewhere that a lie is like a snowball rolling down a hill: the longer it rolls, the larger it gets.

Subscribe to Comments

One Response to “Daily Link for 2007/07/21”

  1. He supposedly was shocked SHOCKED! by Nazi atrocities. ….what does it matter? The Tin Drum is The Tin Drum…who cares how enthusiastic the author was for the outdoors and the promise of being part of a master race.



  2. Hi, just wanted to tell you, I enjoyed this post. It was inspiring.Keep on posting!


    ray ban outlet

  • Browse

  • Older DPF Archives

  • Post Categories

  • Twitter @dumpendebat

    • Egyptians Denounce President Sisi in Biggest Rally in 2 Years https://t.co/3fFzfYy1c5 #Egypt
    • #SaudiArabia Warns of Economic Fallout if Congress Passes 9/11 Bill https://t.co/kENSz4FtC9 #KSA #WarOnTerror
    • Japanese McDonald's workers demonstrating for a living wage, 15 April 2016. #Tokyo #Japan #fightfor15 #solidarity https://t.co/tJxXEoz8a6
    • #Ghana president makes no-panic plea over terror threat memo https://t.co/6RTZF5DU1a
    • Le président malien IBK se remet de l'opération d'une tumeur en France https://t.co/n45kINsUqr #Mali
    • Op-ed: Average North Koreans will be hit hardest by sanctions https://t.co/TjdXJoFYpp #NorthKorea
    • US, #Philippines Conduct Joint Patrols In South China Sea https://t.co/9fVxO0TB5t
    • Missing Nigerian girls identified in new video as calls renew to find them https://t.co/65G4ortWwA #Nigeria #BringBackOurGirls
    • #Philippines rejects Islamic State's claim it killed 100 troops https://t.co/d1sWYmQP3q #ISIS
    • #ISIS is making inroads in the #Philippines and the implications for Asia are alarming https://t.co/Q2VOxnPuOn
  • Meta