Reply Mon 14 Aug, 2006 08:11 pm
Gunter Grass - Waffen SS

Grass was a kid, and those cool black uniforms with the lightning bolts and death-heads were pretty irresistible.

Even though I think by age 17 one should have a pretty solid ethical base, it's tough for me to hold a 79 year old man responsible for his sins as a 17 year old, and yet where is the line drawn?

If I murder someone when I am 17 but live an exemplary life from then to age 79, do I get a free pass?

Might not be so ironic if Grass hadn't been considered the Moral Conscious of Germany since the war, and he didn't devote his Nobel acceptance speech to vilifying George Bush.

Whatever W's military record may or may not have been, it certainly didn't include a stint in the Waffen SS.

Interesting that Grass accepted the accolades all these years and only now, on death's driveway (if not door), has confessed.

The inherent peril of the sanctimonious.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 04:15 am
Why do I have this feeling, Finn, that if Grass had not bad-mouthed your hero Bush, you'd be the first to defend his youthful indiscretion and praise his forthrightness in coming clean about it at a time when there was no apparent need to do so? (BTW, the Waffen SS was nothing like the "other" SS; it was stricctly a combat force.)
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 06:13 am
Perspicacious chappie, that Merry Andrew.


I am glad Grass has raised the issue, though.
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flyboy804
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 07:35 am
From what I have read, the anger is coming not from his status during the Nazi regime, but from his denial of such status until now.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 07:53 am
Indeed.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 03:06 pm
Apparently there's already a movement under way to rescind his Nobel Prize. The Nobel committee has issued a statement stating that this would be impossible. There's nothing in the rules to cover such an event. (That was just on the BBC Overseas Service radio news.)
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 03:10 pm
Re: Gunter Grass - Waffen SS
Finn d'Abuzz wrote:
Interesting that Grass accepted the accolades all these years and only now, on death's driveway (if not door), has confessed.


Is he deadly ill? Didn't know that.

----------

Well, the story went on since August 11 (that's the date when the Fox published that report, quoted by Finn):

Quote:
But previously unknown documents that emerged this week and obtained by SPIEGEL show that the writer, best known for his novel "The Tin Drum," had already admitted to American military officials in 1945 that he had been a member of Hitler's elite troops.


http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,684084,00.jpg
Sources

So I wonder why all this excitement .... after it has been wellknown and excellently documumented by the US authorities for more than 60 years already.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 03:12 pm
Yeah, but Fox "News" just found out about it, so that makes it breaking news. If they ain't heard about it, it ain't real . . .
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 03:16 pm
INTERNATIONAL & NEWS, yes, I understand that completely.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 03:23 pm
Yer right, Set. It's Bill O'Reilly and that bunch who are the final arbiters of newsworthiness. Actually, re-reading the Fox report, it sounds like the Algemeine Zeitung was doing an interview with Grass as a promo for the author's forthcoming book of memoirs. The reporter had to ask him something, so he asked "Why are you coming out with this information now?" And Grass, who had to answer something said, "Well, it's been weighing heavy on my mind." That makes it sound as though there's something here that hadn't been disclosed before. Apparently not so.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 03:33 pm
It is also interesting that the document Walter provided shows him entering the Waffen SS in November, 1944, and describes him as a "student," which suggests to me that he was a trainee. You have a seventeen-year-old boy who enters the armed forces and goes into training in what are for his nation desparate times. Actually, given the situation in November, 1944, joining the Waffen SS was probably a rather smart move. He had a better shot at getting decent equipment, and what would have passed for decent rations in those dark days.

By the spring of 1945, thirteen- and fourteen-year-old boys were being put in field gray coats, given a coal scuttle helmet and a panzerfaust, and told to go out and find and kill an American tank. Should we hunt all of those horrible "Nazis" down? My mother served with a field hospital in Normandy. They got a lot of casualties from the 12th SS Panzergrenadier Division--the Hitler Jungen Division. Boys, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen years of age . . . yeah, those were the worst of the Nazis, the little perishers. German officers taught her German lullabys phonetically, so she could sing them to sleep--they were badly wounded and terrified.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 03:58 pm
Setanta wrote:
It is also interesting that the document Walter provided shows him entering the Waffen SS in November, 1944, and describes him as a "student," which suggests to me that he was a trainee. You have a seventeen-year-old boy who enters the armed forces and goes into training in what are for his nation desparate times. Actually, given the situation in November, 1944, joining the Waffen SS was probably a rather smart move. He had a better shot at getting decent equipment, and what would have passed for decent rations in those dark days.

By the spring of 1945, thirteen- and fourteen-year-old boys were being put in field gray coats, given a coal scuttle helmet and a panzerfaust, and told to go out and find and kill an American tank. Should we hunt all of those horrible "Nazis" down? My mother served with a field hospital in Normandy. They got a lot of casualties from the 12th SS Panzergrenadier Division--the Hitler Jungen Division. Boys, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen years of age . . . yeah, those were the worst of the Nazis, the little perishers. German officers taught her German lullabys phonetically, so she could sing them to sleep--they were badly wounded and terrified.


Actually, he says he was called up, and discovered it was for the Waffen SS....then that he feigned illness to try to avoid it.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 04:05 pm
That's not surprising--what is surprising is that he lucked out and got Waffen SS--by late 1944, the Germans were to the point of using sawdust as filler in the sausages the army was issued, nevermind what civilians were forced to eat. My sweetiepie's father tells some harrowing stories of what they went through to get food in 1945--he was about 14 or 15 then, and had been sent to the south (Wurtemburg?) to escape the bomging of Hamburg. They were wearing school uniforms, and an American officer quietly told the schoolmaster that they needed to lose the uniforms so they wouldn't be picked up as combatant POWs. They worked for farmers for the summer so they could get turnips and potatoes to live on.

The Waffen SS would not have been well off--but it would have have done better than the poor schmucks in the Wehrmacht.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 08:08 pm
Merry Andrew wrote:
Why do I have this feeling, Finn, that if Grass had not bad-mouthed your hero Bush, you'd be the first to defend his youthful indiscretion and praise his forthrightness in coming clean about it at a time when there was no apparent need to do so? (BTW, the Waffen SS was nothing like the "other" SS; it was stricctly a combat force.)


Perhaps because you're cynical by nature Merry.

First of all, and for the last time, Bush is not my hero...far from it.

Secondly, I've already indicated that I'm not inclined to indict anyone for the sins they committed 60 years ago, and yet I do and did raise the question of where to draw the line between youthful indiscretions and unerasable stains.

Thirdly, no matter who he has criticized in the past, there is no forthrightness to praise. He had numerous opportunities to come clean in the past and allowed folks to believe he served in some less noxious capacity. The furor that has resulted from his confession within his own country proves that, at least the Germans, don't take membership in the SS lightly.

Finally, what a grand piece of revisionism you offer us in arguing the Waffen SS was nothing like the 'other' SS.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 08:09 pm
flyboy804 wrote:
From what I have read, the anger is coming not from his status during the Nazi regime, but from his denial of such status until now.


Precisely. The inherent peril of the sanctimonious.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 08:12 pm
Merry Andrew wrote:
Apparently there's already a movement under way to rescind his Nobel Prize. The Nobel committee has issued a statement stating that this would be impossible. There's nothing in the rules to cover such an event. (That was just on the BBC Overseas Service radio news.)


There is no reason to strip him of the prize. Notwithstanding his insistence on turning his acceptance speech into a political screed, he won the award for his writing, and what his true character may or may not be should have nothing to do with the quality of his writing.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 08:16 pm
Re: Gunter Grass - Waffen SS
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Finn d'Abuzz wrote:
Interesting that Grass accepted the accolades all these years and only now, on death's driveway (if not door), has confessed.


Is he deadly ill? Didn't know that.

He's 79 walter -- he's in the twilight of his life. If you don't think his sense of mortality has something to do with his confession, then you're not as sharp as I've credited you.

----------

Well, the story went on since August 11 (that's the date when the Fox published that report, quoted by Finn):

Quote:
But previously unknown documents that emerged this week and obtained by SPIEGEL show that the writer, best known for his novel "The Tin Drum," had already admitted to American military officials in 1945 that he had been a member of Hitler's elite troops.


http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,684084,00.jpg
Sources

So I wonder why all this excitement .... after it has been wellknown and excellently documumented by the US authorities for more than 60 years already.

Well may you wonder, and foremost should you wonder why Grass felt the need to reveal this fact (and his account was very much self-describes as a revealtion) if it truly was common knowledge.

0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 08:20 pm
Setanta wrote:
Yeah, but Fox "News" just found out about it, so that makes it breaking news. If they ain't heard about it, it ain't real . . .


I deliberately used the FOX quote because I anticipated its red cape effect on my leftist friends. You didn't disappoint me Setanta. As it happens, the story was breaking news for virtually every other news agency and outlet in the world which you can easily confirm.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 08:25 pm
Merry Andrew wrote:
Yer right, Set. It's Bill O'Reilly and that bunch who are the final arbiters of newsworthiness. Actually, re-reading the Fox report, it sounds like the Algemeine Zeitung was doing an interview with Grass as a promo for the author's forthcoming book of memoirs. The reporter had to ask him something, so he asked "Why are you coming out with this information now?" And Grass, who had to answer something said, "Well, it's been weighing heavy on my mind." That makes it sound as though there's something here that hadn't been disclosed before. Apparently not so.


Neither do you disappoint Merry.

It is incredible how you have chosen to twist the words of Grass and the reporter to suit your position.

"Why are you coming out with this information now?"

If it was common knowledge as Walter suggests, why would the reporter ask such a question in such a manner? He had to? What nonsense.

"Well, it's been weighing heavy on my mind."

Of course, Grass had to answer in this manner. He could not have responded "Well, this has been or should have been common knowledge for some time now."
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Aug, 2006 08:28 pm
Setanta wrote:
It is also interesting that the document Walter provided shows him entering the Waffen SS in November, 1944, and describes him as a "student," which suggests to me that he was a trainee. You have a seventeen-year-old boy who enters the armed forces and goes into training in what are for his nation desparate times. Actually, given the situation in November, 1944, joining the Waffen SS was probably a rather smart move. He had a better shot at getting decent equipment, and what would have passed for decent rations in those dark days.

By the spring of 1945, thirteen- and fourteen-year-old boys were being put in field gray coats, given a coal scuttle helmet and a panzerfaust, and told to go out and find and kill an American tank. Should we hunt all of those horrible "Nazis" down? My mother served with a field hospital in Normandy. They got a lot of casualties from the 12th SS Panzergrenadier Division--the Hitler Jungen Division. Boys, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen years of age . . . yeah, those were the worst of the Nazis, the little perishers. German officers taught her German lullabys phonetically, so she could sing them to sleep--they were badly wounded and terrified.



At least Grass is honest in admitting that he was drawn to the elitist nature of the SS, and that he bought into the Nazi message. Your notion that he was lucky or clever is baseless and self-serving.
0 Replies
 
 

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