Netanya college withdraws degree from former Nazi

November 10, 2006 14:38


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An Israeli college has withdrawn its offer to award an honorary doctorate to Nobel Literature laureate Guenter Grass because he served in a murderous Nazi unit in Germany during World War II. Grass, who became a voice of morality in postwar Germany for urging Germans to confront their Nazi-era crimes, dropped a bombshell earlier this year when he revealed that as a teenager he'd fought in the Waffen SS, the Nazi elite guard. The author responded this week to the Netanya Academic College's decision with an emotional letter asking that his history and accomplishments since the war "be acknowledged as a counterweight" to his service in the Nazi unit. During the war, Waffen SS units ran death camps in which millions of people perished. Only two weeks before he disclosed his SS past, the writer met with college representatives, including vice president David Altman, to discuss the degree ceremony. Grass candidly discussed his past in the Hitler Youth, a paramilitary group to which many young Germans belonged, but gave no indication of his impending disclosure, Altman said.

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