The fallout from Gunther Grass’s SS confessions continues to fly fast and furious, with everyone throwing their two cents at the man, hoping to gouge out an eye or at least chip a tooth.
Bookninja links to Polskie Radio, which report that “Poland’s ruling party, the conservative Law and Justice, has called on the German author Guenter Grass to give up his honorary citizenship of the city of Gdansk …. According to a parliamentary deputy from Gdansk, Jacek Kurski, it is unacceptable for a city where World War Two began to have a Waffen SS member as an honorary citizen. If Grass did not give up the citizenship on his own, he added, his party would propose a resolution to strip him of the honour.” While Gdansk’s mayor thinks this might be going too far, former Polish president Lech Walesa has also chimed in with calls for title-stripping.
Over at the Guardian, the Comment section features Matthias Matussek’s op-ed about how it’s not Grass’s service that rankles, but his keeping “schtum about his past, as long as it was opportune to suppress it … For decades he had scolded others who didn’t admit to their past and demanded atonement from the whole country … And he took as a reward for this unrelenting ‘moral’ stance every honour that the left had to offer, including the Nobel Prize … With the help of exclusive interviews in the press and on TV, he orchestrates this confession with such skill that Madonna would have a job surpassing it when flogging a new CD. No one markets shame more cannily today than Günter Grass.”
Elsewhere in the Guardian, Hitler biographer Joachim Fest called Grass’s silence “inexplicable.” According to the article, ‘Günter Grass thought for a long time how he could get the most possible people to buy his new memoir,’ wrote columnist Hans Zippert in Die Welt. ‘Then fortunately it occurred to him that he had been a member of the Waffen SS but hadn’t trumpeted it before. A real sensation!'”
Yahoo! got in on the act, quoting Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of Jews, who said “His long years of silence over his own SS past reduce his earlier statements to absurdities,’ Knobloch was quoted as saying by the Netzeitung online newspaper.”