about Grass


Günter Grass is born on the 16th of October in the Free City of Danzig, in the Wrzeszcz borough.


Primary school and gymnasium in Danzig. Member of Jungvolk and Hitlerjugend organisations.


Assistant in anti-aircraft artillery; conscripted into paramilitary Reich Labour Service, the army, and Waffen-SS unit in the 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg. Wounded at Cottbus and taken to hospital in Marienbad. Sent to an American camp for German war captives in Bavaria.


Employed on a farm and in a potassium mine at Hildesheim.


Employed in a masonry workshop in Düsseldorf by gravestones carving.


Sculpture and graphic arts studies at the Arts Academy in Düsseldorf under professors Sepp Mages and Otto Pankok.


Sculpture studies at the Berlin University of the Arts under professor Karl Hartung.


3rd prize in a poetic contest for the poem Lilien aus Schlaf (Lilies from a dream). Grass joins the literary Group 47. First exhibition of sculptures and graphics in Stuttgart. Meine grüne Wiese (My Green Meadow) - poems and short story published in the Akzente magazine.


Publication of the first book Die Vorzüge der Windhühner.


Prepremiere of the play Hochwasser (The Flood) in a student theatre in Frankfurt am Mein. Prepremiere of the ballet Stoffreste (Remnants) in the city theatre in Essen.


First travel to Poland since the end of the war. Prepremiere of the play Onkel, Onkel in Cologne. Group 47 Award after the reading of the manuscript of The Tin Drum. Cultural Circle of the National Association of German Industry Award.


Die Blechtrommel (The Tin Drum) – the novel initiating the so-called Danzig Trilogy is published in Germany. The ballet Die Gans und fünf Köche (Five Cooks) staged in Aix-les-Bains and Bonn. Prepremiere of the one-act play Noch zehn Minuten bis Buffalo (Only Ten Minutes to Buffalo) in the theatre in Bochum. The play Beritten hin und zurück (Rocking Back and Forth) is staged in Frankfurt am Mein. The City of Bremen Award (Bremer Literaturpreis). Second travel to Poland.


Gleisdreieck - volume of poems and reproductions of graphics. Literary prize of the Association of German Critics. Third travel to Poland.


Katz und Maus (Cat and Mouse) – the second part of the Danzig Trilogy. Prepremiere of the play Die bösen Köche (The Wicked Cooks) in the Schiller Theater in Berlin. Grass meets Willy Brandt and gets involved in his election campaign. Open letter to Anna Seghers concerning the construction of the Berlin wall.


French translation of The Tin Drum awarded the Best Foreign Book prize.


Hundejahre (Dog Years) – the last part of the Danzig Trilogy is published. Membership in the Academy of Arts in Berlin.


Praremiere of Goldmäulchen on the Munich chamber stage.


Involvement in the electoral campaign supporting SPD. Georg Büchner Prize by the German Academy for Language and Literature. Honorary degree of Kenyon College in the USA.


Praremiere of the play Die Plebejer proben den Aufstand (The Plebeians Rehearse the Uprising) in the Schiller Theater in Berlin. Film adaptation of the novella Cat and Mouse directed by Hansjürgen Pohland.


Ausgefragt (collection of poems and drawings) awarded the Carl von Ossietzky Medal by the Board of Trustees of the Berlin Section of the International League for Human Rights.


Über das Selbstverständliche (Speak Out: Speeches, Open Letters, Commentaries). Theodor Fontana Prize.


Örtlich betäubt (Local Anaesthetic). Prepremiere of the play Davor in the Schiller Theater in Berlin. Theodor Heuss Prize. The social-democratic electoral initiative is formed; Grass travels as a campaigner for SPD.


Prepremiere of the ballet Die Vogelscheuchen (The Scarecrows) in the German Opera in Berlin. Visit in Warsaw as a member of an official governmental delegation of the chancellor Willy Brandt; the Polish-German treaty on the normalisation of mutual relationships is signed.


Gesammelte Gedichte (Collected poems).


Aus dem Tagebuch einer Schnecke (From the Diary of a Snail ). Collaboration with the Gallery and Graphic Studio of Anzelm Dreherau.


Mariazuehren (Inmarypraise) – collection of poems, graphics and photos of Maria Rama.


Der Bürger und seine Stimme (The Citizen and His Voice) – collection of speeches, essays and commentaries. Liebe geprüft (7 etchings and poems). Grass leaves the Catholic Church.


Mit Sophie in die Pilze gegangen – collection of lithographs and poems. L’76 magazine is established (with Heinrich Böll and Carola Stern). Grass candidates in the Bundestag election as a representative of SPD (with Siegfried Lenz). Honorary degree of Harvard University in the USA.


Der Butt (The Flounder). Premio Letterario Internazionale Mondello Award in Palermo. Als vom Butt nur die Gräte geblieben war – 7 etchings and poems. Collaboration with the printer Fritz Margull.


The first international colloquium of Grass’s translators (The Flounder). Denkzettel – collection of political speeches written between 1965-1976. International literary award Premio Letterario Viareggio. The foundation of the Albert Döblin prize at the Academy of Arts in Berlin. Kashubian Aleksander Majakowski Medal in Gdańsk.


Das Treffen in Telgte (The Meeting at Telgte). The Tin Drum directed by Völker Schlöndorff awarded the German Film Prize, the Golden Palm in Cannes and the Oscar for the best foreign language film (1980).


Kopfgeburten oder Die Deutschen sterben aus (Headbirths or the Germans are Dying Out). Aufsätze zur Literatur – collection of essays on literature. Grass establishes L’80 publishing house. Longer break in literary work and return to sculpting.


Travel to Gdańsk and meeting with students and researchers of the University of Gdańsk.


Grass joins SPD. Antonio-Feltrinelli Prize in prose. Zeichnen und Schreiben. Band I – collection of drawings and texts created between 1954-1977. Vatertag (Father’s Day) – cycle of 22 lithographs. Im Hinterhof – reportage from travel to Nicaragua.


Ach Butt, dein Märchen geht böse aus - poems and etchings. Grass becomes President of the Academy of Arts in Berlin.


Zeichnen und Schreiben. Band II – second volume of texts and graphics created between 1972-1982. Widerstand lernen – political speeches written between 1980-1983.


Establishment of the Alfred-Döblin-Haus for writers in Wewelsfleth.


Die Rättin (The Rat). In Kupfer, auf Stein – lithographs and copperplates created between 1972-1986. Grass moves from Hamburg to Behlendorf near Lübeck.


10-volume collection of Grass’ literary works is published. Grass collaborates with a jazz drummer Günter Baby Sommer; they work on Es war einmal ein Land – a combination of prose, lyricism and music.


Zunge zeigen (Show Your Tongue) – 12-piece poem and illustrations; Calcutta graphics.


Skizzenbuch. Grass resigns from the Academy of Art in Berlin, accusing the school of the lack of solidarity with Salman Rushdie.


Totes Holz – graphics and texts. Kahlschlag in unseren Köpfen – lithographs. Schreiben nach Auschwitz – lectures on poetics given at the University of Frankfurt. Deutscher Lastenausgleich – speeches and interviews. Ein Schnäppchen aus DDR: letzte Reden vorm Glockengeläut, Deutschland, einig Vaterland? – polemics with Rudolf Augstein. Honorary degree of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.


Ein Werkstattbericht – album documenting the writer’s work. Brief aus Altdöbern (Letter from Altdöbern) – an essay. Gegen die verstreichende Zeit – speeches, essays and interviews written between 1989-1991.


Unkenrufe (The Call of the Toad). Rede vom Verlust. Premio Grinzane Cavour Award. Daniel Chodowiecki Foundation is founded and established. Grass resigns from SPD.


Novemberland – 13 sonnets. Premio Hidalgo Award in Madrid. Premio Comites Award. Honorary Citizenship of the City of Gdańsk. Honorary degree of the University of Gdańsk. Literary and musical project Da sagte der Butt with Günter Baby Sommer. Steidl publishing house acquires the rights for publishing Grass’s works all over the world.


In Kupfer, auf Stein – a collection of graphics. The Great Literary Prize of the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Medal Universidad Complutense in Madrid. The Karel Čapek Prize in Prague (with Philip Roth). Grass returns to watercolour painting.


Ein weites Feld (Too Far Afield). German- Japanese letters with Kenzaburő Ôe. Hermann Kesten Medal. Hans Fallada Prize.


Sonnig Prize of the University of Copenhagen. Thomas Mann Prize of the City of Lübeck.


Fundsachen für Nichtleser – watercolour paintings and poems. 16-volume edition of Grass’s collected works. The Romani People Foundation and the Otto Pankok Award are established. The Rat film directed by Martin Buchhorn.


Lübecker Werkstattbericht – lectures. Grass rejoins the Academy of Arts in Berlin. Fritz Bauer Prize.


Mein Jahrhundert (My Century) – short stories and watercolour paintings. Auf einem anderen Blatt – drawings. Vom Abenteuer der Aufklärung – interviews with Harro Zimmerman . Der lernende Lehrer. Prinz-von-Asturien Prize. Nobel Prize in Literature.


Nie wieder schweigen (No more silence) - speech during the International World Congress of PEN in Moscow. Ohne Stimme (Without a voice) – speeches on behalf of Romani and Sinti nations. Grass and Peter Rühmkorf establish the Wolfgang Koeppen Foundation. Ich erinnere mich… – a text published in 2001 in a collection titled The Future of Memory edited by Martin Wälde on the occasion of the meeting with Czesław Miłosz, Wisława Szymborska, Günter Grass and Tomas Venclova in Vilnius (02.10.2000).


Fünf Jahrzenhnte– a workshop report. Mit Wasserfarben – watercolour paintings. Viadrina Prize of the Viadrina European University in Frankfurt.


Im Krebsgang (Crabwalk). Gebrannte Erde - cycle of sculptures. In einem reichen Land. Zeugnisse des alltäglichen Leidens an der Gesellschaft with Daniela Dahn and Johano Strasser Grass. Günter Grass House in Lübeck is opened.


Letzte Tänze – a volume of poems and drawings. Correspondence between Günter Grass and Helen Wolff 1959-1994 is published. Honorary degree of the University of Lübeck.


Lyrische Beute – poems and drawings of the last 50 years. Der Schatten – graphics illustrating Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales.


Hans Christian Andersen Prize. Freiheit nach Börsenmaß – Geschenkte Freiheit – 2 speeches to commemorate the 8th of May, 1945. Meeting with translators of The Tin Drum in Gdańsk. Wir leben im Ei – stories of five decades are published. Premiere of the film Unkenrufe (The Call of the Toad) by Robert Gliński. Involvement in the electoral campaign to the parliament – support for the red and green project.


Beim Häuten der Zwiebel (Peeling the Onion) – writer’s memoir in which he confesses that he was a member of Waffen-SS.


Dummer August – poems and lithographs. Catalogue Raisonné – etchings and lithographs. Correspondence between Uwe Johnson/Anna Grass/Günter Grass is published. Ernst Toller Prize.


Die Box. Dunkelkammergeschichten (The Box).


Grass takes part in the opening of the Günter Grass Gallery in Gdańsk, as well as the 1st edition of the Grassmania festival in Gdańsk-Wrzeszcz. Unterwegs von Deutschland nach Deutschland (From Germany to Germany: Diary 1990).


Grimms Wörter. Eine Liebeserklärung


Eintagsfliegen. Gelegentliche Gedichte – illustrated volume of poems. Controversial poem What Must Be Said – a commentary to the Iran-Israel conflict is published.


Correspondence between Grass and Willy Brandt is published in Germany.


Grass visits Gdańsk during the 6 th edition of the Grassmania festival and unveils the sculpture Flounder in Hand in front of the Günter Grass Gallery in Gdańsk.


On the 29 th of January the writer opens the exhibition War eigentlich ein schönes Schiff... based on his novel Crabwalk in the Günter Grass House in Lübeck. Günter Grass dies in a hospital in Lübeck on the 13th of April.