Grass Will Still Get German-Polish Reconciliation Prize | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 07.09.2006
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Grass Will Still Get German-Polish Reconciliation Prize

After causing a firestorm with revelations that he served in an elite Nazi unit six decades ago, acclaimed author Günter Grass is still to be awarded with a notable peace prize.

Grass broke his silence with the release of his new book

Grass broke his silence with the release of his new book

Nobel laureate Günter Grass will still be awarded a prize for promoting Polish-German reconciliation even though he turned it down after admitting that he served in the notorious Nazi elite force, the Waffen SS, the organizers said.

"We have agreed that Grass is the winner of the prize for 2006," said Willy Xylander, the president of the jury for the International Bridge Prize of the twin cities of Görlitz in Germany and Zgorzelec in Poland.

"It will be noted in the annals along with the fact that he has refused to accept it," he added.

Grass, 78, last month said he would not accept the prize, which is due to be awarded in December, because he did not want to strain relations between Poland and Germany.

Strained relations

Lech Walesa und Günther Grass

Lech Walesa initially wanted Grass to give up his honorary Danzig residency

Resentment between the neighboring states over World War II resurfaced recently when an exhibition about people displaced by conflicts opened in Berlin.

It added to political tension between Berlin and the new administration in Warsaw.

Grass drew an avalanche of criticism last month when he revealed that he spent a few months with the Waffen SS. He had kept quiet about it for more than six decades, while urging fellow Germans to confront the country's past.

The acclaimed author of "The Tin Drum" recounts this experience in his new autobiography "Peeling Onions."

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