German literary great Günter Grass farewelled | News | DW | 10.05.2015
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German literary great Günter Grass farewelled

Germany has bid farewell to literary great Günter Grass at a memorial service in his home town of Lübeck in northern Germany. The Nobel winner and national treasure died last month at the age of 87.

Some 900 friends, family and fans attended a memorial service at a theater in Grass' home town of Lübeck to honour the German literary giant who passed away in April.

German President Joachim Gauck and other dignitaries attended Sunday's service, with US writer John Irving, a personal friend of Grass', giving the eulogy.

Grass, who was seen as a moral compass in post-war Germany, but later went on to criticize his own World War II past, achieved world wide fame with his debut book “The Tin Drum,” followed by “Cat and Mouse,” and “Dog Years,” which centered on the rise of Nazism in his native city of Danzig, now Gdansk in Poland.

In paying tribute to Grass, Irving, author of “The World According to Garp,” said the world no longer had authors like Grass, whom he said was his idol.

“As a writer, Grass was one of the great ones,” he wrote in the day's following Grass' passing.

“As a man, he held himself and his nation – meaning every nation, any nation, and each individual – accountable.”

He won the 1999 Nobel Prize for Literature for his “frolicsome black fables portraying the forgotten face of history.”

One of Germany's most influential, but controversial public figures, Grass was also a sculptor, playwright and poet.

In 2012, the Nobel laureate found himself caught up in controversy with the prose-poem “What must be said,” in which he painted Israel as the Middle East's biggest threat to peace.

The poem also voiced concerns the nuclear-armed state would be the first to strike against Iran.

jlw/bw (dpa, AP)

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