Gunter Grass, the Nobel prize-winning author, passed away earlier this year and with him probably went an era. A sometimes controversial figure, he maintained close contact with the city of his birth and will be missed.
Gunter Grass was born on October 16, 1927 the son of a German grocer, Wilhelm Grass and a Kashubian mother Helena Knoff, in the hospital now known as Kliniczna. Grass’ background was not uncommon in a city where Germans, Poles and the local Kashubian population regularly intermarried and his own story can be viewed as a pocket history of the city in the first half of the 20th century.
Many of the locations where the action is set in his novels are real places where Grass spent time during this period and with many having survived the devastation suffered by the main city of Gdansk/ Danzig during World War II, it is possible to walk the streets of Grass’ childhood and at the same time realise the setting of his stories.