Remembering Günter Grass and His Enormous Hypocrisy

April 14, 2015 | New York Sun
About the author:

The German novelist Günter Grass, who died yesterday, devoted much energy to lecturing his fellow Germans on their need to come to terms with the Nazi past. He also condemned Israel with great enthusiasm. But not until 2006—just in time to promote a new memoir—did he admit that he had himself been a member of the Waffen-SS. The editors of the New York Sun write:

The German Nobel laureate spent most of his career as a moral scourge, preaching for peace, the environment, and all the good leftist causes. He was an opponent of the reunification of Germany into a single, free, anti-Communist democracy. . . . After the pipe-puffing pontificating prevaricator finally confessed his membership in the Waffen-SS, the head of the Germany’s Central Council of Jews, Charlotte Knobloch, declared that Grass’s “long years of silence over his own SS past reduce his earlier statements to absurdities.” . . .

It’s not our purpose here to get on too high a horse. It is a great thing to be a novelist, and some of Grass’s earlier works are literary accomplishments. Nor is it our aim to tar all leftists with the brush of Grass. But there is this recurrent streak on the left that reminds us from time to time that the left itself, with its dirigiste conceptions, is not so far from the rightist tyrants. The real moral high road is [the] avenue of liberty, a story that Günter Grass managed to miss.

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