The current Pope and also Gunter Grass were POWs at Bad Aibling

Mad Dog gives us this interesting item:

But did they ever play tennis?

“Grass is above all celebrated for his evocation of Danzig during the early days of the Nazi regime in The Tin Drum, the 1957 novel that made his name overnight. Yet Danzig is now Gdansk and, since the days of Lech Walesa and the 1981 Solidarity strikes in its shipyards, as important an icon in Polish culture as it once was in German.

Grass was born in Danzig in 1927 and his father, whom he described as “a typical opportunistic fellow traveller” joined the Nazi party in 1936.

At the end of the war, in circumstances that will now have to be
re-examined, Grass ended up as an American prisoner of war. In one of the titillating snippets from the forthcoming autobiography, he recalls meeting and becoming friendly with a rather shy 17-yera-old lad called Joseph who was also in the Bad Aibling prisoner-of-war camp. “I wanted to be an artist; he wanted to go into the church,” Grass recalls. He is unable, however, to confirm whether the lad was indeed Joseph Ratzinger, who admits to having been in the same camp and in now Pope Benedict XVI.”

Gunter Grass’ book will be available in English later this year under the English title “Peeling the Onion”. The book was published last year in Germany (in German) and it was one of the biggest events of 2006 there. In the US there was quite a bit made about Grass revealing only now that he had once been a Nazi.

A fuller report is here.

John

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