Der Herr knickt die Dame,
nein, biegt sie, so beugsam die Dame,
der Herr gibt sich steif.
Zwei Körper, die eins sind, doch nichts
von sich wissen, geschieden in Treue,
in Treue vereint.
Die Hand in der Beuge, gedehnt tropft die Zeit,
bis plötzlich die Uhr schlägt:
fünf eilige Schritte.
Wir stürzen nach vorne und retten uns rücklings,
wo nichts ist als Fläche,
nach vorne zurück.
In Angst, doch ich fange – der Sturz
ist gespielt nur – mit rettendem Händchen
dich oftgeübt auf.
Sind leer jetzt mit Haltung und schauen
im Schleppschritt, beim Leerlauf mit Haltung
uns unbewegt zu.
Das ist der Tango, die Diagonale.
Aus Fallsucht zum Stillstand.
Ich höre dein Herz.
Der Herr knickt die Dame,
† 13.04.2015, Lübeck, Nemčija
Günter Grass was born on October 16, 1927, in what was then the "Free City of Danzig". After attending elementary school and high school, he registered voluntarily for the submarine force, as he confessed in his 2006 memoir "Beim Häuten der Zwiebel" ("Skinning the Onion"). But since the submarine force no longer accepted anyone, he was called up to join the Waffen-SS in Dresden in 1944. At the end of the Second World War, Grass was taken prisoner by the US-American troops, but was released in 1946. After working as a farmhand and in a lime mine, he began an apprenticeship with a stonemason in Düsseldorf in 1947. He then studied graphic art and sculpture at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art from 1948 to 1952. From 1953 to 1956 he continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin as a student of the sculptor Karl Hartung.
In 1958, Grass reads the first chapter of his as yet unpublished novel at the annual meeting of "Gruppe 47", and this reading makes the previously largely unknown 32-year-old author suddenly famous. Publishers vie for the unfinished manuscript. Until 1958 he wrote mainly short prose, poems and plays, but in 1959 his novel Die Blechtrommel (en: The Tin Drum, 1959) was not only his overnight literary breakthrough, but also his immediate inclusion in the international literary canon of the day. The story of Oskar Matzerath, an oddball of small stature, set in Gdansk, together with the novella Katz und Maus (1961, en: Cat and Mouse, 1963) and the novel Hundejahre (1963, en: Dog Years, 1965), form the so-called Danzig Trilogy.
From 1960 Grass lived again in Berlin-Friedenau. In his first marriage, which lasted until 1972 and was divorced in 1978, he became father of four children.
The 1979 film version of The Tin Drum by Volker Schlöndorff, in whose screenplay Grass himself also participated, received, among others, the "Golden Bowl" of the German Federal Film Award, the "Golden Palm" of the Cannes Film Festival and the "Academy Award" ("Oscar").
Throughout his life, Grass is not only one of the most important German-language authors, but also an important figure in the public life of the Federal Republic due to his political commitment. Other important novels and stories by the author include Der Butt (1977, en: The Flounder, 1978), Die Rättin (1986, en: The Rat, 1987) and Beim Häuten der Zwiebel (2006, en: Peeling the Onion, 2007). His books have been translated into numerous languages. In addition to his work as a writer, Grass continues to work as a sculptor, painter and graphic artist.
In 1972 Grass moves into the house in Wewelsfleth in Schleswig-Holstein, which he will give to the Berlin Senate decades later as a place for residency grants in the Alfred Döblin House. In 1979 Grass marries the organist Ute Grunert. Together with her, Günter Grass lives in India from August 1986 to January 1987. The following year he publishes Zunge zeigen. A diary in drawings, which captures the time in India. In 1995 Grass moves to Lübeck.
In 1999 Günter Grass is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his life's work.
Although Grass's affiliation with the Waffen-SS, which he only made public in 2006, leads to a heated public debate, the recognition of his rank as an author remains largely unaffected by this discussion.
On April 13, 2015, Günter Grass died in Lübeck at the age of 87.
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