Humor Magazine

When Hitchens 'grassed Up' Grass!

By Davidduff

To be clear, I am referring to the late Christopher Hitchens and also to the now equally late Gunter Grass, Germany's pride and joy - sort of!  Herr Grass spent sixty years of his post WWII life pontificating on how it was the duty of all adult Germans to come clean about their lives and actions during Hitler's regime.  He, himself, spent most of his adult time writing books which, with their anti-Nazi message, charmed the liberal elite and eventually led to him receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature.  He spent most of his life espousing Left-wing causes and prating about the 'crime' of so many Germans failing to be honest about their personal histories and in particular not telling their children what they had done and why.  It was assumed, of course, that Grass, himself, was too young to have been any sort of participant in Nazi activities.

 So it was a bit of a shock when, in 2006, this German humbug owned up to the fact that in 1944 he had joined the Waffen-SS and fought as a tank gunner with the 10th Panzer Frundsberg Division until he was captured by the Americans in May 1945.  Of course, he was only 17 when he was called up but it is also worth noting that previous to that he had volunteered for the German submarine service.  Well, so far, so normal, for Germans of his age and older struggling to come to terms with a history which was all too real to them.  However, the vast majority of them simply kept 'schtum' as they tried, in the privacy of their consciences, to reconcile personal actions with massive political forces.  Grass's confession after decades of moralising went down like the proverbial Scheisse sandwich!

On the news breaking, Christopher Hitchens, who it would appear was just waiting for an excuse to beat Grass up with a lead-filled bratworst, let him have it in the pages of Slate magazine.  This, perhaps, gives you the flavour of Hitchens' view of Gunter Grass:

For all this, one was never able to suppress the slight feeling that the author of The Tin Drum was something of a bigmouth and a fraud, and also something of a hypocrite. He was one of those whom Gore Vidal might have had in mind when he referred to the high horse, always tethered conveniently nearby, which the writer/rider could mount at any moment. Seldom did Grass miss a chance to be lofty and morally stern. But between the pony and the horse, between the stirrup and the ground, there stood (and stands) a calculating opportunist.

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeees, quite so!


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