Gunter Grass House in Lubeck

At last I managed to find the time to upload some holidays pictures. I visited Gunther Grass center while staying in Lübeck. I even visited twice, because the first time around, Baby Smithereens was so enthusiast about the whole thing that we spent little time actually reading the exhibits and rather chasing him away and trying to keep his vocal enthusiasm to the minimum.

Gunther Grass House is actually an exhibition center, but also a research center and a writing retreat for the writer whenever he’s in town (his main residence, I understand, is in Berlin, but he also has a residence near Lübeck). The house is very quiet in one of the cobbled streets of the old town, where each Renaissance house is more charming than the next.

In the center there were sculptures and drawings by Grass, videos of interviews and of the Tin Drum, and a lot of manuscripts, especially from his novel Crabwalk and My Century. It was intriguing to see his many corrections in the several versions of each page (first longhand, then typed and reviewed).

There was also a small bookshop and art shop to buy etchings and reproductions. Of course, I had to buy a book! But in English please, because Gunter Grass’ German is too complex for me. The only drawback was that all the information is provided in German, and I read it so slowly that I could have stayed hours there without getting through all of it.

At the time of our visit an exhibition was presented about Grass and Gdansk, the disputed Polish city (once named Danzig in Germany) where he was born. He has been made an honorary citizen in his childhood’s town, but after the disclosure of his past in the Waffen-SS at the end of the war (briefly mentioned in his memoir, Peeling The Onion), there was quite an uproar in Poland, which later calmed down.

Apparently there are many parallels between Lübeck and Gdansk, in history, culture and architecture. I once visited the Lithuanian town of Klaipeda (and the Curonian Spit) that also shared a disputed fate between Germany and other cultures (Polish, Lithuanian, Russian) during many centuries: it was fascinating. One day I’ll definitely have to pay Gdansk a visit!


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