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IT'S enough to make an old man cry. Just days before publication of his long-awaited autobiography entitled Peeling the Onion, Gunter Grass, bleeding-heart figurehead of the German Left, has confessed he was once a member of the Nazi SS.

The revelation by the Nobel prize winner, now approaching his 80th birthday, has shocked Germany's literary and cultural world. It was Grass first and foremost who insisted the Germans "come clean" about their history and that his own generation should not try to pose as "victims" of Hitler's National Socialist ideology.

Now the great advocate of facing unpalatable truths has lived up to his own standards, but a little late.

The revelation came in an interview with Germany's respected conservative newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and while it is certain to boost interest in his forthcoming autobiography it has done immeasurable harm to the writer's squeaky-clean reputation.

More here.

From one failed ideology to the next.

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