German Nobel Literature Winner Dies At 87

Guenter Grass, German Nobel literature prize winner and author of The Tin Drum, has died, aged 87.

His publisher said he passed away at a clinic in the city of Luebeck. Born in what was then Danzig, Grass served in the German military during the World War Two and published his breakthrough anti-Nazi novel, The Tin Drum, in 1959.

He became became an outspoken opponent of German reunification in 1990, and argued afterwards that it had been carried out too hastily.

Many of his writings focused on the Nazi era, the horrors of the war, and the destruction and guilt that remained after Germany’s defeat.

Germans were shocked when he revealed in his 2006 memoir, Skinning the Onion, that as a teenager he had volunteered to join the army and had served in the Waffen-SS. After the war he spent months in an American prisoner of war camp.

He went on to train as a stonemason and then studied sculpture, and he remained active in the visual arts. His first book of poetry was published in 1956.

The author was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1999, for portraying “the forgotten face of history.”

Praising The Tin Drum, the Nobel committee said that it was “as if German literature had been granted a new beginning after decades of linguistic and moral destruction.”

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