Renowned German novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, sculptor and recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature Gunter Grass passed away on Monday in the city of Lubeck. Grass, 87, died of a lung infection, Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.
“A childhood between the Holy Spirit and Hitler,” is how biographer Michael Jurgs summed up the environment in which Grass spent his childhood. At the age of just 17, he witnessed the horrors of World War II as a member of the Hitler Youth. He later joined the Waffen-SS, a Nazi special forces unit.
His literary career began in 1952. He wrote dramas, poems, and especially fiction. The list of his works is very long, and includes “Cat and Mouse” and “Dog Years”, which, together with “The Tin Drum”, were part of his famous “Gdansk Trilogy”; “Local Anesthetic”, “The Flounder”, “The Rat”, “The Call of the Toad” and “Crabwalk”. The “Tin Drum” was adapted into an Oscar-winning film by Volker Schlondorf in 1979.
Most of his works dealt with political conditions and social upheaval, like the sinking of a refugee ship in the Baltic Sea in 1945, the role of intellectuals in the uprising in former East Germany in 1953, the student protests of 1968, federal election campaigns and political relations between the East and West.
Gunter Grass was a multi-talented artist, not only a novelist and poet, but also a sculptor and designer who occasionally also designed the covers of his books. (IANS)