Books: Independent Foreign Fiction Award: Outrages along the new wall: Ralph Manheim, who translated The Call of the Toad by Gunter Grass (Secker & Warburg, 14.99), died last year. The following is an extract from the novel
Saturday 17 July 1993
By mid-August, posts were set up along Grunwaldzka, designed to support a six-foot fence later to be covered with greenery. The press was quick to take up the matter with headlines such as CEMETERY-CONCENTRATION CAMP, and GERMANS LOVE FENCES, and the suggestion that 'instead of wasting money on expensive wire, why not import sections of the now dismantled Berlin Wall into Poland duty-free, and set them up again for the defense of the German Cemetery?' Concluding with the slogan: 'We need the Wall]'
All in all, there was more laughter than recrimination. No sooner was the fence put up than parts of it were torn down. This was done carefully, avoiding damage to the materials, for the posts and wire reappeared, put to good use in the fencing of community gardens or the building of henhouses. The dismantling turned into a local fete.
'And yet,' writes Reschke, 'it's an ugly sight.'
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