Sunday, August 20, 2006

Old Gunter Grass

In our media intrusive world it is astounding that no one found out that Gunter Grass was a 17 year old Nazi. Admittedly, who of recent generations could really understand what was going on in Nazi Germany in 1944, but... given the circumstances of those years wouldn't the experience be indelibly stamped on your cortex. Not to be forgotten.

Grass is a 20th century master. Why did he expect no one to think his decision to keep quiet about his SS call-up to go un-noticed? And why the SS? His biography is on sale today and is expected to sell out immediately. He will make a few bucks (Euros) but I tend to agree with this opinion in the IHT; that this is less about money than about him dealing with the inevitable likelihood that after his death some cub reporter is going to find the evidence. I guess he believes that his comments and arguments while he is alive regarding this experience is better than nothing at all and could help mitigate the inevitable reversionary review of his master-works. His initial public comments and I suppose his narrative that it was some impetuous action of a boy who wanted to get out of the house seems to me to be a little gratuitous. But who am I to say. The fact he kept this quiet all these years seems more than accidental and particularly calculated. If he joined the regular army and then 60 years later told everyone he wanted to defend his country I am not sure anyone would have paid too close attention.

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