Latest Issue

Günter Grass was Germany’s troubled conscience

The author acknowledged the extent of his complicity with the Nazis before his death

By Sameer Rahim  
Gunter Grass, who has died at the age of 87. ( © Maurizio Gambarini/PA)

Gunter Grass, who has died at the age of 87. ( © Maurizio Gambarini/PA)


Günter Grass, who has died at the age of 87, was the most audacious German novelist of his generation. His first novel, The Tin Drum (1959), was narrated by Oskar Matzerath, a dwarf writing his memoirs in an insane asylum. That exhilarating work addressed Germany’s suspension of morality during the war from an oblique, almost fantasy-like perspective. It also dared to show suffering…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect