August 14, 2006
TIM BLAIR ON THE REACTION TO GUNTER GRASS'S NAZI PAST: "Leftist authors sure do love tyrants."
Meanwhile, Gary Farber observes:
His whole life as a writer has been a lie.
About being in the Waffen SS.
Not a small thing.
Not something to be redeemed by finally coming forward. Now. In 2006. At the age of 78.
He feels guilty?
Good. But not good enough.
New spin -- It was just a case of being ahead of the lefty fashion curve. He was an antisemite before antisemitism was cool!
UPDATE: David Mosier emails: "Just a hunch but I'll bet the Soviet Union knew about Grass's Nazi past since 1945, and threatened to reveal it if he took them on in his writing. Just like they knew about Waldheim."
ANOTHER UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg thinks that Grass deserves a pass compared to some other figures of the left:
Grass was just a teenager when he joined Hitler's killing machine. Shaw, Heidegger and a shocking number of the Western left's intellectual heroes were grown ups when they became enamored with Hitler. Gertrude Stein — a Jew! — led an effort to award Hitler the Nobel Peace Prize in 1938.
Judging by some more recent Peace Prize awardees, I'd say he was a suitable candidate.