Guenter Grass's Stasi files to be published
Tuesday 29 December 2009
A new book showing the huge lengths the East German secret police, the Stasi, went to in order to spy on Nobel Prize-winning author Guenter Grass will go on sale in March, its publisher said Tuesday.
The Stasi first began to keep tabs on Grass, Germany's best-known post-war writer, in 1961 when he wrote an open letter attacking the construction of the Berlin Wall by the communist German Democratic Republic (GDR), the book shows.
"Grass was unbelievably well known in the GDR. His books were banned for decades, but everybody knew him. He often visited the GDR and people would say, 'That's Grass'," said Kai Schlueter, the new book's author.
But when Grass, whose best-known book "The Tin Drum" had come out in 1959, visited East Germany, where he would give readings, the Stasi would attempt to follow his every move, giving him the code name "Bolzen" ("bolt").
"Grass was completely surrounded by spies when he came to the GDR. All his official interlucutors were IMs, 'unofficial employees' (spies), all of them," said Schlueter, who went through over 2,000 Stasi files to compile his book.
"Whether they were from writers' associations, publishers' representatives, state representatives, theatre people ... he was completely surrounded. This really surprised me," Schlueter told Radio Bremen in November.
"From the moment he crossed from West Berlin at the Friedrichstrasse border crossing point until he left again, he was monitored the whole time. He says he never noticed."
These informers would then tell a Stasi officer what Grass, now 82, has said and done, which would then be meticulously recorded in documents that after German unification in 1990 were opened to the public.
Schlueter said that he was of particular interest to the Stasi because unlike other "easy ideological targets" like West German chancellor Konrad Adenauer, Grass, as an active supporter of the Social Democratic Party who backed party icon Willy Brandt's election campaign in the 1960s and 70s, was seen as a more insidious threat.
The book, "Guenter Grass im Visier - Die Stasi-Akte" ("Guenter Grass in the Cross Hairs - the Stasi Files"), is published by Christoph Links Verlag.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets
Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 Russian officials ban yoga because it's too much like a religious cult
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 Ginger Pride festival to take place next summer, organisers say 'time of bullying gingers is over'
- 5 Facebook rainbow profile pictures likely being tracked by social network
Glastonbury 2015: The best bits you missed from Lionel Richie and the Dalai Lama to The Libertines' secret set
Glastonbury 2015: The picture of a man crowd surfing in a wheelchair is brilliant, but it wasn't taken at Glastonbury
Fifty Shades of Grey author EL James' Twitter Q&A didn't exactly go as planned
Guillaume Tell gang-rape scene causes uproar at the Royal Opera House
Glastonbury 2015: Shocking scenes of rubbish left strewn across campsite as clean-up begins
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS