Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Nobel prize winner Grass admits serving in Nazi SS

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Latest Breaking News Donate to DU
 
deadparrot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 03:34 PM
Original message
Nobel prize winner Grass admits serving in Nazi SS
BERLIN (Reuters) - Nobel prize-winning German author Guenter Grass has admitted for the first time that he served in the Waffen-SS, Adolf Hitler's elite Nazi troops.

In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Grass, 78, said he volunteered for submarine service toward the end of World War Two. He was called up instead to serve in the Waffen-SS in the eastern city of Dresden.

The author, best known for his first novel "The Tin Drum" and an active supporter of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD), said his wartime secret had been weighing on his mind and was one of the reasons he wrote a book of recollections which details his war service. The book is out in September.

"My silence through all these years is one of the reasons why I wrote this book," the paper quoted Grass as saying in a preview of its Saturday edition. "It had to come out finally."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/germany_grass_ss_dc
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
zanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 03:50 PM
Response to Original message
1. "And I might as well make some money, too"? nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Placebo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. I doubt he's worrying much about that at his age.
n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Joe for Clark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 03:53 PM
Response to Original message
2. Might be a good book.
He's 78 now? Then he was a little kid in 1945.

As long as he's writting books and not running countries.

Tin Drum was a good book.

He was is Dresden - then he knows hell.

Doesn't say the name of the book in the link. I remember Grass, the name, though. I'll be looking.

Joe



Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
zanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. There's no excuse for serving in the SS. None.
Now, toward the end of his life when he has very little to lose, he admits his involvement in a monstrous force and sells a book at the same time. Slime. No excuses, not cool.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nordic65 Donating Member (276 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. He was a teenager (16-17)
While I agree there's very few if any excuses for having served in the SS, I find it hard to judge the actions of a young teenager in a gruesome war. Basically he was a child-soldier.

The question should rather be why he hasn't said anything about it before now. It's not like he was the only youngster made to fight for the Third Reich.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
zanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Alot of our GIs in Vietnam were 17.
No excuses for this dirtbag. Yes, yes, I know he's a good author. I've read his works. So what?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. I totally disagree with you.
Both about GIs in Vietnam and Grass. He was very young; it was the end of the war. That cuts him a lot of slack in my book.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
zanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #8
21. A 17 year-old friend of mine died in Vietnam.
Don't try to tell me there weren't any 17 year-old kids there.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nordic65 Donating Member (276 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. Not comparable - at all
The young GIs in Vietnam, whom by the way was not anything like SS-soldiers, grew up in a democracy and had the opportunity to digest some conflicting reasoning.

I can guarantee you that that was not the case in Germany from 1935 to 1945.

Brainwashed is the operative word your looking for...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
zanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. We criticized Schwarzeneger for his Nazi father...
But we're giving this guy a pass? WTF?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nordic65 Donating Member (276 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. You did?
When ever was the sin of the father the guilt of the son?

Think, GODDAMMIT, THINK
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
zanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:55 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Yes, we did condemn Schwarzenegger for his father.
Do a search, if you want to find the truth. And don't tell ME to think. I'm not a Nazi apologist.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nordic65 Donating Member (276 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #19
25. Are you fucking serious?
Edited on Fri Aug-11-06 05:40 PM by Nordic65
Here you are condemning a man for his actions some 60 years ago, while he was basically a child.

To make your case you somehow legitimize the dirty laundry of Arnold Schwarzenegger (born July 30 1947) because his father was a nazi. As Arnold somehow was responsible for that. I'm no fan of Arnold, but please...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Codeine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 08:25 PM
Response to Reply #19
29. I didn't.
Arnold's dad's actions are nothing that Arnold has to bear responsibility for -- he's got enough baggage of his own.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Hav Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 06:06 PM
Response to Reply #5
27. "The question should rather be why he hasn't said anything about it before
If I had to make a guess, I would say it was the German mentality. It doesn't matter whether you did something or not, you still feel ashamed and you don't want to be a part of it. Even some members of the generation, whose parents where born after 1945, are ashamed about it or feel guilty.

And you can see pretty well in this thread, why it's not easy for people to come out easily with stuff like that. It will change the way you are seen by people, you will be seen as a monster by some.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nordic65 Donating Member (276 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 06:21 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. Probably right
Edited on Fri Aug-11-06 06:23 PM by Nordic65
It's certainly not something to brag about, but nevertheless, how did he keep it a secret for all these years? If it was a secret, that is...

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G nter_Grass
(updated 11 august 2006)

He was wounded in 1944 and ended up as an american POW in 45
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Viva_La_Revolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-12-06 01:03 AM
Response to Reply #27
32. The Germans have been feeling the shame for years
We have German ancestry on my Grandmothers side, and even though we were American since the early 1800's, there was a great feeling of shame that German people did what they did. I can't imagine what I would feel if I actually lived in Germany.

Maybe the population is finally starting to come to grips with it?





***This weekend on Book TV***
*Sen. Byron Dorgan, Take This Job and Ship It: How Corporate Greed and Brain-dead Politics Are Selling Out America
*Sharon Weinberger, Imaginary Weapons: A Journey Through the Pentagon's Scientific Underworld
*Jeff Goodell, Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future
*Michelle Goldberg, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism
*Morris Berman, Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
theanarch Donating Member (523 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. not necessarily his fault...
...he was 16 or 17 when he enlisted in the Navy, and found himself assigned to the Waffen-SS instead; at that age, at the end of the war, i don't think he had much choice in the matter. And by then, the SS wasn't the all-volunteer outfit it began the war as. At the start of WWII, US draftees were assigned to either the Army or the Navy on a 9 to 1 ratio (e.g., every tenth man went to the Navy, regardless of their personal preference). A friend of mine enlisted in the Army (during Vietnam) and requested heavy armor--on the theory that under the preferred placement program, tankers would be assigned to NATO or S. Korea (ideal tank country, which Vietnam wasn't). He got his wish, went through armor school, and graduated with his sargeant's stripes...and was promptly shipped to Vietnam. At Ton Son Ut AB, the duty officer asked for his specialty: "Armor, Sir!" my friend said..."No" the duty officer said, "Air cavalry"...and sent him to the DMZ for a year, where he never once used a helicopter for anything except going on in-country leave. It's remarkable how similiar militaries are the world around.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
zanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. If he's such a victim, why didn't he admit it before?
NO excuses for volunteering. NONE.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
theanarch Donating Member (523 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. as i read the OP...
...he volunteered for the Navy; after induction, he was transferred to the SS--which was (i presume) a legal order, which he could not refuse without being disciplined. Had he volunteered for the SS, well, yes, that would be different; yet, as that does not appear to be the case, i'm for cutting him some slack here...at least until the book is released, and his story is told in full.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nordic65 Donating Member (276 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. He's not a victim (yet he probably is...)
He was a child of his times - terrible times.

Not the same as being a posterchild for Waffen SS.

Mind you, there is absolutely no excuses for what was done in their name...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Joe for Clark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #9
17. Well - unless you were there you don't know that.
The guy writes books - thats all.

You cannot judge the individual based on the society - really.

Otherwise, some future person will judge us for this B*sh "society".

And we have no part.

Victim is a relative term, you know?

Look - to me the only good Nazi is a dead one - really. But I understand some dummy may think defending his country paramount, I understand - and you do, too.

I don't know how to say this more clearly. Guys there said it really well - I'd listen to them.

Joe

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Joe for Clark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. I am not so sure.
. We picked up a lot of German prisoners-wounded. And thats where I learned that not all Germans were Nazis. Dad and I had a lot of arguments over that. How did you find that out? In talking to this man. Because towards the end of the war they (the Germans) were now taking men in their forties and on up, and young kidslike sixteen, or fifteen or maybe younger. And this elderly man, a POW, could speak some English. He was on my train and he was very nice and friendly and, well, we got to talking. And so I just asked him something about why he joined the war. He was older and he was married with about four kids and he said, When they come to your house and say either you join the army or we shoot your wife and children right here in front of you, what would you do? So, I joined the army. Thats when I knew that not all Germans were Nazis.

I calculated my Dad killed about 1200 people over there in Europe - My Mom, Lt XXX was a train nurse picking up wounded.

You see, sometimes the truth is really blurry.

So, I don't make too many judgements about people anymore.

Joe
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
truthisfreedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:38 PM
Response to Original message
14. at least he admitted it.
strong feelings in here, but this admission is rare, don't you think?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nordic65 Donating Member (276 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Not so much rare as strange
This is not just anybody. He a real world famous nobel laureate, a celebrated novelist, and a controversial one at that - with enemies to spare. And yet, no one knew about this?

Me thinks he changed his name since 1945!

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
zanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #14
22. He admitted to it at age 78.
It's pretty easy to admit anything at age 78.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
exlrrp Donating Member (598 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 04:57 PM
Response to Original message
20. No, not very many
I was in Vietnam when I was 18--this was the legal age for going to Vietnam at the time. I had to wait untill I was 18 to go--everybody else in my jumpschool class went west after Jump school. I went suth to Panama. When I turned 18 I volunteered.
In 1966 a young 101st paratrooper died when he jumped on a grnade and saved people, he got the Cong Medal of Honor. After that there were no more 17 year olds there.
not that 18 is that far off.
If you want a Vietnam horror story I'll give you one. My unit, the 1st/327 (101st) was given the job of clearing the Song Ve valley of inhabitants--then it was declared a free fire zone. This involveed rounding up some very unhappy people who didn't want to go and I mean hundreds. Still, no one got murdered that I saw or heard of, although everyone there was unhappy about the situation including all of us--that wsn't what we signed up to do. But thats what it turned out to be. We didn't know this then but the Tiger Force, our battalion recon team was coming along behind "cleaning up" anyone who wanted to stay, this meant slaughtering 100 or more people.. You can google Tiger Force to get this whole sordid story.
So there I was real close to a massacre that may have been more than My Lai (which happened not far away less than a year later by another unit)that my battalion was responsible for. Do I get blamed for that? I didn't know anything about it till years later, nor did anyone else.
Was I responsible for that? Neither was Gunter Grass , he was probably trying to just survive. If he did bad its on his conscience now.
Judge not least ye be judged. He certainly has contributed greatly to society otherwise, loved the Tin Drum.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Joe for Clark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 09:36 PM
Response to Reply #20
30. I know what you're talking about.
That is a great post.

Joe
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Joe for Clark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
23. I think, always did - we should make reading -
"Inside the Third Reich" - mandatory for high scool students. Still think so.

Speer (sp) he didn't admit much as to personal guit in it. But he sure laid out the blueprints as to how such a thing could ever happen again.

One of the most truly frightening books I ever read.

IMO

Joe
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Miss Chybil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
24. I'm shocked! Now, I have to read the book. I loved "The Tin Drum."
It was so anit-war and anti-Nazi, I never would have guessed his secret.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Joe for Clark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 05:37 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. It is a pretty good read.
The guy is pretty anti-war, clearly.

He is a good writter, too.

It was a good book.

Interesting perspective.

Joe
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Melynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-12-06 12:08 AM
Response to Original message
31. Maybe he wants to confess his sins before he dies
After all, he is 78 years old. Maybe he's been carrying this around for years and wants to go public in order to unburden himself. Just a theory.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Tue Jul 23rd 2019, 02:04 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Latest Breaking News Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC