Autobiography, Writing & Drawing, German Unification: Günter Grass in the Lausitzer Braunkohlerevier

Richard Erich Schade


Two decades after its composition, Grass published Unterwegs durch Deutschland nach Deutschland. Tagebuch 1990, much of which details his sojourn in the lignite strip-mining districts of Lusatian Saxony. There he obsessively rendered the ecological devastation in charcoal drawings, powerful pictures later shot through the printed text. The moonscape images become metaphors for the widespread socio-economic destruction of East Germany at the hands of misguided Communist policies. Additionally, Grass’s agenda reflects his take on war-time experience in the Waffen SS; in 1945, he was wounded and became a POW in the very region he crisscrosses in 1990 arguing his opposition to the hurried Western Anschluss of the Eastern nation. Finally, the journal offers Grass’s corrective critique of Chancellor Kohl’s campaign promises of “blooming landscapes” sure to come with the unification of the two Germanys. (RES)

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