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Gdansk basks in its former glory

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After being reduced to rubble during World War II, the port, formerly called Danzig, has been restored and is preparing to celebrate former resident Gunter Grass' 80th birthday.

When German author Gunter Grass was born in a suburb of this historic city on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea 80 years ago it was known to most of the world as Danzig.

The port now goes under the Polish name of Gdansk and the district of Langfuhr, where Grass first saw the light of day, has changed its name to Wreszcz.

Gunter Grass GdanskA great deal has happened in the meantime including a war unleashed by the Germans that killed 50 million people and destroyed the Free City of Danzig. The Old Town was reduced to rubble. The German population was forced to leave and only a small ethnic minority remained. Thanks to excellent restoration work, the seaport is now as handsome as it was before hostilities began.

Once a free city under the Protection of the League of Nations, the Danzig of yore lives on in the novels of Nobel Literature laureate Gunter Grass. Echoes of the heroes of his first and probably best-known novel The Tin Drum - especially of the diminutive Oskar Matzerath - can be found in the streets of the old Hanseatic city.

Gdansk attracts countless tourists who are fascinated by the places that inspired the work of Germany's most famous post-war novelist. Their numbers are sure to increase in the run-up to the author's 80th birthday on Oct. 16.


Grass has long been an honorary citizen of Gdansk and plans to erect a statue in his honor have been on the cards for years. Grass suggested using the money instead to pay for indoor toilets to be installed in houses in the Ulica Lelewela. "They still haven't got them," said Abramowicz. And there is no sign of the proposed monument to Grass either. A statue of Oskar Matzerath does exist, though, and can be found not far from the Ulica Lelewela.

Sorry, this is the Taipei Times story, and cannot be displayed in full on
Source: the Taipei Times

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