Skip to comments.Israel Bars German Laureate Grass Over Poem
Posted on 04/09/2012 12:28:01 PM PDT by lbryce
Israels interior minister declared Günter Grass, one of Germanys best-known authors, unwelcome in Israel on Sunday, barring him from entering the country for a poem that accused Israel of being a threat to world peace.
Grasss poems fan the flames of hatred against Israel and the Israeli people, thus promoting the idea he was part of when he donned an SS uniform, said the minister, Eli Yishai, referring to Mr. Grasss admission that he had been a Nazi soldier as a 17-year-old. His distorted poems are not welcome in Israel. I suggest he try them in Iran where he will find a sympathetic audience.
Controversy has engulfed Mr. Grass, 84, for the past five days since he published his 69-line poem titled What Must Be Said in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The poem assailed Israel for its threats to attack Iran over its nuclear program, called for supervision of Israels nuclear weapons and warned that Germany, through its sales of submarines to Israel, risked being complicit in a crime.
While those views are relatively common among European intellectuals, the way in which they were strung together placing Israel and Iran on the same moral plane, echoing language and themes that have long stirred anti-Semitism along with Mr. Grasss own personal history have drawn exceptional anger to the poem.
The issue continued to boil in Germany, where Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called comparisons between Israel and Iran absurd, and Marcel Reich-Ranicki, the countrys leading literary critic and himself a Holocaust survivor, described the poem as disgusting.
In an article in the newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Mr. Westerwelle wrote that Germany had a historic responsibility for the people of Israel and underscored the similarities between the countries as democracies as well as the history between their peoples.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
He said that he had often supported Israel, had visited a number of times and wanted the country to exist and at last find peace with its neighbors.
Regardless of the record of individual combat units within the Waffen-SS, the entire organization was declared a criminal organization by the International Military Tribunal during the Nuremberg Trials, except conscripts, who were exempted from that judgement due to being forcibly mobilised.
War crimes and atrocities
Several formations within the Waffen-SS were proven to have committed numerous war crimes, most notoriously at Oradour-sur-Glane, Marzabotto and in the Malmedy massacre. Some additional allegations have never been substantiated as many were intended to link the Waffen-SS to crimes committed by the Allgemeine-SS (political SS). Perhaps the most infamous of all SS formations were the Dirlewanger and Kaminski Brigades (later to become the 36.Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS and 29.Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (russische Nr.1) respectively. These formations, composed mostly of ex-Einsatzgruppen, released criminals and Russian Prisoners of War and commanded by the fanatical Nazis Oskar Dirlewanger and Bronislaw Kaminski, were engaged in numerous atrocities throughout their existence. After their actions in putting down the Warsaw Uprising, Heer complaints resulted in these units being dissolved and several members (including Kaminski) being tried and executed for their role in several incidents.
Similarly, the Waffen-Sturm-Brigade RONA has a "combat" record riddled with atrocities as well as abysmal conduct when faced with front line service.
While divisions like the Nordland and Nord have virtually spotless records, most Waffen-SS divisions were involved in at least some questionable actions. The debate over the culpability of the organisation is the center of much revisionist thinking.
Regardless of the record of individual combat units within the Waffen-SS, the entire organisation was declared a criminal organization by the International Military Tribunal during the Nuremberg Trials, except conscripts, who were exempted from that judgement due to being forcibly mobilised. The actions of Himmler and the Nazi heirarchy in attaching the SS combat divisions to the same overall command of as the Allgemeine SS, Concentration Camps and Einsatzgruppen meant that such a decision was inevitable.
Certainly the mere donning of an SS uniform, membership in the Waffen SS elite by Mr. Grass provides no ground for any guilt on his part but does offer compelling insight into his current views, statements, his background hardly one that would qualify his credibility as legitimate in saying he's often supported Israel, had visited a number of times and wanted the country to exist and at last find peace with its neighbors.
He might as well have said some of his best friends are Jewish, once had a Jewish girl friend, loved her mother's gefilte fish.
If weed makes people write bad poetry, then they ought not smoke it.
Even designer "Laureate" weed from Germany.
In before the first post explaining how the Waffen SS is unfairly associated with atrocity, mass murder, genocide, and anything nazi.
The article’s last paragraph notes that he tried to be “Germany’s conscience” on the Holocaust, but until less than a decade ago did he reveal his position as a member of the SS. He might have been an actual instrument of healthy renewal had he “owned up” at the start.
This to me is less about Herr Grass and more about Germans and Germany. Some of the “in his defense” web postings indicate that the hatreds that infected Germany in the 30’s and 40’s have not extinguished. They are subterranean.
And for the record, my father and grandfather were in NAZI camps before and during WWII — one of them put there by the SS.
It is likely a false hope that these hatreds fade away; it is best to continually expose them. It will make some uncomfortable. The hatreds only take new forms.
Gunther Grass served in the 10th SS Panzer Division, FRUNDSBURG, which is most remembered for its defense [with Corps. mate, 9th SS Panzer Division, HOHENSTAUFFEN] of Arnheim during MARKET - GARDEN. I have never come accross any allegations that either division was involved in war crimes.
Other SS divisons with clean records [in addition to those cited in the text] included 5th SS Panzer Division, WIKING, 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Div. GOETZ von BERLICHINGEN.
SS Divisions involved in war crimes included: 1st SS Panzer Division, LEIBSTANDARTE SS ADOLF HITLER. Wormhout, 1940; Malmedy, 1944, several occasions [at least] in the USSR; 2d SS Panzer Division. DAS REICH, Ouradur sur Glane, 1944; 3rd SS Panzer Division, TOTENKOPF, Le Paradis, 1940; 7th SS Mountain Division, PRINZ EUGEN, during operations in the Balkans, 1942-1944; 1st SS Cavalry Brigade [later 8th SS Cavalry Division, FLORIAN GEYER], Pripyet Marshes, 1941.
And the Kaminski Brigade was RONA.
It’s now official, Gunther’s a geezer.