16 August 2006

It Gets Worse for Gunter Grass

There have been a wave of criticism of novelist Gunter Grass following his recent admission that he served in the Waffen SS during WWII. Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of Jews has added her voice to these criticisms. "His long years of silence over his own SS past reduce his earlier statements to absurdities."

Grass was long seen as the moral conscience of Germany "My silence through all these years is one of the reasons why I wrote this book," Grass announced. "It had to come out finally." Grass said he volunteered at age 15 for the submarine service and was refused, only to be called up for military service two years later. When he reported for duty in Dresden, he found it was with the 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg. He said that under the sway of Nazi indoctrination he did not view the Waffen SS as something repulsive but as an elite force. Grass had claimed he had been forced to work on anti-aircraft batteries. Nobody is suggesting that Grass's service in the Waffen SS means he was involved in Nazi war crimes. Although the SS was in charge of administering the Holocaust, the Waffen SS was a military arm.

"It is a disappointment, in a way he has betrayed the whole generation," said his biographer, Michael Jürgs "We adored him not only as a moral icon, but as a figure who was telling the truth even when the truth hurts." Former Polish Solidarity leader and president, Lech Walesa, was quoted as saying Grass should hand back the honorary citizenship he was awarded for the Polish city of Gdansk, where he was born. "If it had been known he was in the SS, he never would have been given the honour," Mr Walesa told the German tabloid Bild.

Story

I have been thinking about this issue quite a bit since the story broke. The world rightly looks on the SS as a criminal organisation., The Waffen SS itself was a fighting force. It consisted of around 1 million soldiers ranging from elite troops to out and out butshers (eg the Dirlwanger brigade). While the Waffen SS did not run the death camps it was responsible for numerous atrocities (there was also a lot of movement of men between fighting units and death camps). Only one unit, the Wiking Division, was never officially implicated in war crimes. The Wehrmacht on the other hand has been portraued as honourable but its own record on the Eastern Front is no less vicious as that of the Waffen SS. Once could thus argue that a teenager’s membership of the SS, given that he did not participate in any war crime, is no worse than being in the Wehrmacht especially if facing the Red Army.

The real issue here I think is that the “conscience of Germany” has admitted he was a flawed human being but there is not one of us alive that does not at least have a toe made of clay!



19 comments:

Renegade Eye said...

I have heard people, with the rationale, of mistaking National Socialist rhetoric, with socialism.

He seems, and is repentant.

elasticwaistbandlady said...

This really has little to do with Gunter Grass, but I just listened to a fascinating hour on talk radio, detailing the Muslim participation in the Holocaust starting all the way back in 1933, and the favoured status bestowed upon them from the Nazi's, including Hitler himself. I guess Muslim leaders visited the death camps and encourages the guards to be more diligent and execute more, faster. They also had their own little S.S Mullah training camps.

That's something I never learned in school, and due to political correctness, I'm sure will never be taught.

jams o donnell said...

This is very true ewbl. The Mufti of Jerusalem, a vicious anti semite and a big troublemaker in Palerstine before WWII, spent WWII in the Reich. He really was a nasty piece of work indeed.

It's no secret that there were Muslim SS divisions... the first was the Handschar Davision (you will see alternative spellings) recruited from Bosnian muslims. There was a second Bosnian division, I think. there was also at least one Albanian SS division, the Skanderborg. A lot of these would have been muslim too.

These troops were not effective fighters. If you threw them against the Red Army they would ahve been slaughtered. What they were good at though was butchering civilians. This trait is not unique to muslim SS units, plenty of other waffen SS formations were just butchers and brigands - a million miles away from the the likes of "Wiking" or "Das Reich" in terms of fighting effectivenesss (not that I condone the atrocities of Das Reich by saying they were effective soldiers)

It is not really PC in operation here I think ewbl. The British and the American take on WWII mainly concentrates on the British or American participation in WWII. Most of the atrocities committed by the likes of the Muslim soldiers were committed on the Eastern Front or in the Balkans and would simply get less attention.

I have written a few times in the past on the IRA/Nazi link in WWII (I have a couple of more posts to come out of this when I get around to finishing my research!).There was also an Indian SS formation, recruited from POWs. It was a mix of Hindu, Muslim and Sikh.. History is susch a sordid subject, eh ewbl!

jams o donnell said...

Ren people who think that the Nazis were socialist sould consider North Korea a democracy because the word Democratic appears in its name!

There was a scocialist strand to NSDAP but that seems to have been expunged when the likes of Strasser were purged. People have pointed to Nazi manifestos as proof positive of socialism. At the end of the day, however, Hitler may have sometimes talked the talk but he NEVER walked the walk!

beakerkin said...

Earth to Renegade the question of the dual poles of Nationalism and Socialism was decided on the night of the Long Knives. Communism and Nazism were rivals not polar opposites. WEB Dubois was one of several American Commie traitors that praised Nazi Germany.

Then there is the fact that Communists were actual allies of Hitlers Germany. They cooperated and divided Poland and the Baltic states. The Communists staged a series of local massacres and the Katyn forest was the best known of many.There was extensive cooperation and several meetings of SS and their Commie counterparts.

American Communists pulled a 180 and stopped all the AntiNazi talk and became Peace activists. This was until Hitler double crossed the equally evil Communists and then American Communists became war
advocates. If there ever was a group whose behavior raised dual loyalty issues it is that of American Communists who were subsidized by Moscow.

Whatever evils Grass perpetrated he seems to have spent a lifetime repenting for. This is not an excuse for joining the SS but a realistic observation.

Jams John Brown has been spamming my blog and around six others in my blog community. His vulgar posts
that repeat themselves ad nauseum
on a daily basis. Placing the same post on a blog ninety times is not
freedom of speech it is spam.

On top of his spam Brown has labeled people who object to his spam as KKK members. This is a tactic Renegade is well aware of.
He has also created a blog that claims I am a pedophile and has stolen my avatar and a friends bandwith. This behavior has gone on for six months and Renegade has been aware of it and said zero.

The bottom line is that if John Brown continues to invade my area and force us into moderation we will reluctantly do the same. In reality we understand the unfairness of the situation. The ideal is that everyone enjoys freedom of speech. However Comwad
Brown is intent on spam and denying
our right to free speech.

Brown has even threatened a Bloggers children and Elmer's brother will show you if you ask.

The bottom line is that we ask you and Renegade to have a talk with Comwad Brown. We also post warnings to Brown of what will happen should he return but he ignores them.

As a Cold Warrior I do not desire to mix with types I consider to be the embodiment of evil. I prefer far left types blog in Peace and visa versa. I do have a well mannered Communist Antisemite who visits daily but he does not spam my blog and never repeats himself.

jams o donnell said...

Beakerkin, vis a vis Grass I agree.
You are also quite right to point out that it was the Night of the Long Knives that expunged the socialist element in the NSDAP.

I know little about WEB DuBois myself. I am no communist, I am no communist supporter, my views on Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot et al are probably no less virulent than yours. You certainly will not find praise for those murdering fucks from me!

The German/Soviet Pact of August 1939 was a sickening act of cynicism that gave the two monsters the chance to dismember Poland and for Stalin to swallow the Baltic States. You will not hear me disagree that Katyn was anything other than an atrocity. You will not hear from me anything other than disgust for Soviet repression of its own people.

There was a huge slice of cynicism in what Stalin did in August 1939. He was happy for Germany and Britian et al to kick each other to pieces. In his mind I think he hoped he would be able to pick over the carcasses. His own stupidity was nearly his undoing when Barbarossa started.

I am British. My knowledge of the CPUSA is pretty minimal. I can say that the CPGB was very anti war between September 1939 and the invasion of the USSR. Quite strangely Harry Pollitt, Palme Dutt and the rest then became ardent supporters of the war!

The uncomfortable truth about WWII, however, is that we ended up supping with one devil to defeat another. The Reich could not have been defeated had it not been for the Soviets in the east and the USA in the west. I am not foolish as to believe that Britain, the Empire and dominions, the Free European forces, Brazil (who sent soldiers to fight in Italy and who acquitted themselves well) or those from neutral states (such as my father who left neutral Eire to join the RAF as a 15 year old with a doctored birth cert) could have defeated the Reich. They all played a big part but it was american men and materiel that won the war in the west.

I will deal with the John Brown issue in a subsequent post.

jams o donnell said...

Ren and I link to each other for the following reason. He found my blog, found an article I wrote on Irish history (it concerned the links between the the IRA and Germany in WWII - one which was not complementary towards the IRA!). I returned the compliment and contribute occasionally to the debates there as time permits.. or when I have something to say.

I have seen what John Brown has posted at Ren's blog and I don't think much of what he has to say (for one I support Israel's right to exist and to defend itself. I reserve the right to question its actions though). Until today I think I had looked at Savage Justice once. I did not like what I saw there and did not bother with it again. It is an ugly and nasty blog.

The cloning of blogs is a disgrace. There is no way I will condone spamming, cloning or such accusations. I used to frequent a chat room where a previous id I used was cloned by some lunatic fuck who acused me of some pretty disgusting things too. the clone id still exists but is irrelevant these days.

I do not have direct contact with John Brown. I will thus have no influence on his actions. Ren will have no influence either. If you look at what Brown actually says he almost always in vehement disagreement with Ren. but all of this is skirting around the issue. Perhaps the way forward would be to look at what sanctions blogger.com can apply to such behaviour. This certainly has my wholehearted support.

I hope you do not go to moderation on your blog. On a lot of issues we will not have a lot in common, on others you may well be surprised! My own regular visitors are a mixed bunch. I welcome polite comments. I have no problems with robust debate. Like you I do not welcome abuse.

For what it is worth, this is a open blog. Like anyone else you are welcome to comment here any time.

elasticwaistbandlady said...

The radio host I listen to always captures my attention with lurid forgotten tale from history, mixed with politics, current events, pop culture, and humour. Hey, wait a minute, sounds a lot like the fare on your blog, jams!

jams o donnell said...

Hmm elasticwaistbandlady, perhaps I am in the wrong job!

elasticwaistbandlady said...

I just came back to read the whole interchange. I like the phrase "robust debate". I'm robust, so that means that I qualify. Excellent.

If someone dares to rip off my beloved butt wiping frog avatar and name, they shall endure the vengeful wrath of a thousand wet noodles mercilessly slapping them silly.

beakerkin said...

The Venonna Project was mainly an American operation. However we do know that Communist parties in the USA and Europe were funded by Moscow.

Some of the behavior of the Communists seems more absurd then ominous. Why try an ifiltrate Jewish organizations such the Jewish Telegraphic Agency?

There is an irony about your point
about the Nazis and IRA links. This was hinted at in a forgotten Movie that nobody remembers The Eagle has Landed. When it is shown on the history channel the historians do point out the accuracy of the IRA and Nazis cooperation.

jams o donnell said...

ewbl I drew myself into an issue that beekerkin raised on a blog belonging to Renegade Eye (both woo woo and I are linked to it and in my case I occasionally comment on his issues) Ren's blog is set up to be like a leftitst discussion forum and there are some pretty erudite contributors from both left AND right. I do have a lot of time for Ren but on most political issues we would agree to differ I am sure .

One contributor there has done some very unsavoury stuff to beakerkin and some of his regulars. For a while I feared there was going to be a "blog war". I was cloned in chat and I was accused of some pretty nasty stuff so I can empathise.

Robust debate is good, abuse is not.. but just wet noodles? My gut feelig would be to take the wet noodle approach to but wrapped round a cricket bat!

jams o donnell said...

Venona Project? I do not know what that is. I will have to look it up. A recommended source of information on this would be welcome.

The book the Eagle Has Landed was a huge bestseller here in the UK. The film was not bad (not great either in my view) and is still shown on tv here from time to time. Again it is true that the IRA and the Nazis did collaborate through the likes of Sean Russell and Frank Ryan (although Frank Ryan's collaboration was a lot more force majeure than voluntary. I am researching him at presesent for a blog article in due course). In Eire itself, German espionage attempts look to have been pretty inept in the end and the IRA/reich collaborations were little more successful. There may well be more records to be released that will counter that view but luckily most Abwehr plans to infiltrate Eire seem to have remained just that - plans.

elasticwaistbandlady said...

I didn't even know that you could clone ID's. I just assumed that your identity was exclusive only to you, and wouldn't allow carbon copies.

Sorry about the hijack of your name, but it's making for some interesting reading. Always a bright side because I'm a sort of quasi optimist!

beakerkin said...

If you can get Venona Secrets by Briendel it is an amusing reading. One ends up scratching your head at the silliness of some of the acts and angry in other places.

I will check my book shelf for several other titles.

I am surprised anyone remembers The Eagle Has Landed. It was a Decent Film and I am painfully unaware of the programing you have in the UK. We have an excellent program called movies in history.
Films are shown and then historians talk about it for 30 minutes.

jams o donnell said...

I will see if it is possible to get that book through my library (the inter library loan service is pretty good for that sort of book)

We have the History Channel here too and they do a similar thing. The film probably has a bit more interest here because the book was written by a british author. It was also a British produced film too(I think).

jams o donnell said...

In yahoo you can't make an exact clone ewbl but you can make a close copy.

When I was a regular chattter in teh Further Left chat room in yahoo (surprisingly it was actually a good room with some pretty decent people.. Pocho was not quite like he is now either, nor zatikia.. but this is a long story for another time). Some arsehole took a dislike to me. I went by the chat title -2001. He created -2005, found a picture of me, discovered my real name then trawled a local history forum and found some other personal details. He (i presume it was a he) then made the clone added some nasty shit, the worst of which was accusing me of being a taxman (IRS)!!! The clone had a nickname box which showed -2001. Thuse he was a ble to impersonate me and damage my reputation. Pretty stupid eh?

elasticwaistbandlady said...

Found a picture of you, eh? Where? In the pages of Playgirl magazine sprawled out on a bear rug? :)

Identity theft is so pervasive, I guess my ignorance didn't make the leap that blog stuff could be copied. In my mind, I think, why would someone do that? Papi has his current job thanks to the guy before him being a thief who used our boss's identification to embezzle over 40,000 dollars. We benefited from his shifty avarice, fo sho!

jams o donnell said...

I think is was from the pages of America's LEAST Wanted ewbl! Hmm given Papi's emploment there is a benefit to id theft!!!