Gunter Grass is a Nobel Prize winning author, who was born in and spent the best part of his childhood in Gdansk. The plots of nearly all of his novels are set in Gdansk and focus on truly difficult issues linked with the history of the city.
For many years, Gdansk’s German past was a bit of a taboo subject, which made Grass and his work somewhat infamous. After he was awarded with the Nobel Prize in 1989, there was a massive shift in public opinion and Grass became one of Poland’s most-loved writers.
In an effort to commemorate Grass, Gdansk is taking care to preserve his memory in different ways, such as putting on theatre productions of his famous The Tin Drum and a multimedia festival for young artists called Grassomania.
Grass has also lived to see a statue, dedicated to him and his work, built in the town where he was born, Wrzeszcz, located in the stunning old district of Gdansk. The statue represents a little boy drummer, Oskar Matzerath, from The Tin Drum. Oskar is seated on a bench overlooking the fountain in Wybicki Square. Why not take a seat next to him and try to imagine the sound of the little drum he holds in his lap.
The unveiling of the statue resulted in Grass entering into a dispute with the city authorities. He was unhappy with the money that was spent to build the statue. Instead, he argued that they could have used the money to build an individual bathroom in the house where he was born. The current tenants still share a corridor bathroom, just like Grass when he was growing up.