Gunter Grass Monument

  Pl. Wybickiego, Gdańsk ,   Wrzeszcz         30 Aug 2023
Unveiled on October 16, 2015 six months after his death and on the 88th anniversary of his birth, this statue pays tribute to the Danzig-born writer Günter Grass in the heart of the district where his most famous story was set. The statue shows Grass in middle-age sitting on a bench opposite a statue of possibly his most famous character – Oskar Matzerath. The two appear to be in conversation or perhaps Grass is reading to Oskar from the book on his lap which has a snail crawling across it – a reference to the most autobiographical of Grass’ works From the Diary of a Snail.

​Oskar represents the hero of Grass' best known story The Tin Drum, an incredible work telling the story of a dwarf born in Langfuhr (Wrzeszcz) in the inter-war years who has a voice that can break glass and takes a view of the world from the beating of his small tin drum. With his Kashubian mother, German 'official' father and Polish 'supposed' father, it has been suggested that Oskar, represents Danzig/Gdańsk itself. Many of the details from this and the other two books which formed the Danzig Trilogy appear to have been taken directly from Grass' own life in the city.

The statue of Oskar was actually unveiled in 2002 and depicts him sitting on the bench playing his tiny drum. The boy who refused to grow and whose drumsticks have a habit of disappearing on a regular basis, sat here alone for 13 years even though both of the statues were made at the same time from a design by Sławoj Ostrowski, a lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk. At the time, Grass caused a bit of controversy by telling the city authorities that he didn’t want a statue made of him while there were still homes in his childhood district that didn’t have bathrooms and so while the statue of Oskar was unveiled, the statue of Mr. Grass was put into storage. With the district markedly improved from those days in 2002 and with the author’s passing, the city dusted the statue off and Grass is back home in Langfuhr for good.


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