Günter Grass describes his life in the Waffen SS

#1
A quite long piece in the NewYorker, but an interesting read from Günter Grass detailing how he ended up as a panzer gunner fighting the Russians. Reads a little like George MacDonald Fraser's tales of his war in Burma. A severe lack of glamour, but chilling stuff.
 
#2
Wasn't his 'coming out' a major shock for the German Left?
 
#4
Older_by_the_day said:
Really good read that one!

Left me intrigued to know more.
It makes me wonder how I (or any of us on ARRSE) would have acted if we had been born in the wrong time and wrong place... I'm a bit of a lefty, but I am sure I'd have been rolling across Europe with my sausage-eating chums...
 
#6
Its an excellent piece - I really wonder what happened to the 'Ayran Ideal' who refused to hold a weapon in training, I hope he survived, likewise the Pfc 'first class'.
 
#7
His "coming out" was a bit of "no-news" a little while ago, since he'd mentioned his service yonks ago, but nobody took much notice at the time.

I admire him as a writer, but the man himself is a preposterously pompous prat, who's given to start his sentences with: "We intellectuals ....

I had the (mis?)fortune of being collared by him at a presentation of his fish etchings in a Berlin gallery sometime in the late Seventies. I pretended not to know who he was, which irritated him enormously (Was! Sie wissen wirklich nicht, wer ich bin? - What! You really don't know who I am?). As did the fact that I declared I wasn't interested in his giving me a signed copy of his book "Der Butt" (I don't know the English title).

So, a good writer certainly, but otherwise a total wänker so far up his own arrse he has a tonsil in each cheek.

I've never read any of his books in English, what are they like?

MsG
 
#8
Bugsy said:
I've never read any of his books in English, what are they like?

MsG
Not exactly a 'light' read, but good stuff.
 
#9
Bugsy said:
His "coming out" was a bit of "no-news" a little while ago, since he'd mentioned his service yonks ago, but nobody took much notice at the time.

I admire him as a writer, but the man himself is a preposterously pompous prat, who's given to start his sentences with: "We intellectuals ....

I had the (mis?)fortune of being collared by him at a presentation of his fish etchings in a Berlin gallery sometime in the late Seventies. I pretended not to know who he was, which irritated him enormously (Was! Sie wissen wirklich nicht, wer ich bin? - What! You really don't know who I am?). As did the fact that I declared I wasn't interested in his giving me a signed copy of his book "Der Butt" (I don't know the English title).

So, a good writer certainly, but otherwise a total wänker so far up his own arrse he has a tonsil in each cheek.

I've never read any of his books in English, what are they like?

MsG
Bugsy mate, I don't know! To my shame I have never read any one of them.
My old German work mates used to get really pished off when I couldn't name a German author who I had read :oops:

Any suggestions (In English please, my German just isn't up to it)?

edited for spack grammar
 
#10
I find it strange that all the old boxheads were either in Uboats,Afrika Korps or Waffen SS and none were Concentration camp Guards,still I suppose it hasn't got much Walting potential
 
#13
Schleswig-Holstein said:
Bugsy mate, I don't know! To my shame I have never read any one of them.
My old German work mates used to get really pished off when I couldn't name a German author who I had read :oops:

Any suggestions (In English please, my German just isn't up to it)?

edited for spack grammar
Tin Drum is the 'must read' classic
 
#14
Run_Charlie! said:
Schleswig-Holstein said:
A quite long piece in the NewYorker, but an interesting read from Günter Grass detailing how he ended up as a panzer gunner fighting the Russians. Reads a little like George MacDonald Fraser's tales of his war in Burma. A severe lack of glamour, but chilling stuff.
sorry R_C, I skillfully hid the link in the original post, have bolded it up for you
 
#15
armchair_jihad said:
Schleswig-Holstein said:
Bugsy mate, I don't know! To my shame I have never read any one of them.
My old German work mates used to get really pished off when I couldn't name a German author who I had read :oops:

Any suggestions (In English please, my German just isn't up to it)?

edited for spack grammar
Tin Drum is the 'must read' classic
Cheers A-J, I just read the synopsis in Wikipedia... sounds bonkers! Think I'll get this one from the library rather than splashing out :wink:
 
#16
armchair_jihad said:
Schleswig-Holstein said:
Bugsy mate, I don't know! To my shame I have never read any one of them.
My old German work mates used to get really pished off when I couldn't name a German author who I had read :oops:

Any suggestions (In English please, my German just isn't up to it)?

edited for spack grammar
Tin Drum is the 'must read' classic
Cat and mouse is a really good book too...Ironically some years ago alan coren said for a book to be a best-seller it should be about golf or cats or both and have a Nazi emblem on the cover. My paperback version of C&M has a cat wearing a Knight's Cross...so it ought to fly off the shelves!
 
#18
I've read both Cat and Mouse and Tin Drum, though this was about 25 yrs ago. Tin Drum was a top read if a bit complex and with an unusual and novel plot line. I found his writing style in a similar mold to kaffka. The movie of Tin Drum is worth a watch though not as good as the book.

I can understand that given the climate of the time it was prudent to keep his politics to himself and go with the flow but I always thought that the SS was a volunteer force for Nazi supporters.
 
#19
armchair_jihad said:
Schleswig-Holstein said:
Bugsy mate, I don't know! To my shame I have never read any one of them.
My old German work mates used to get really pished off when I couldn't name a German author who I had read :oops:

Any suggestions (In English please, my German just isn't up to it)?

edited for spack grammar
Tin Drum is the 'must read' classic
Liked the bit where the Red Army are searching a cattle car of fleeing Germans and someone waves his Social-Democrat party pin at them defensively. Gets kicked to death of course.
 

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