The Danzig of Günter Grass in Gdansk-Wrzeszcz

Gdansk-Wrzeszcz, the quarters where Grass grew up, 5 km from the Centre of Gdansk
The “Stockturm” (built in1346) in the Old Town

Günter Grass, born 1927 in Danzig-Langfuhr, has become famous as the author of his Danzig Trilogy (published between 1959 and 1963) : Die Blechtrommel (Tin Drum) , Katz und Maus (Cat and Mouse) and Hundejahre (Dog Years) and won the Nobel prize of 1999

Die Blechtrommel (Tin Drum), the symbolic tale of a child in Nazi Germany who decides to stop growing and, climbing up the “Stockturm” in exchange gains a supernatural glass-shattering scream, is remarkable as both history and fabulism: “First came the Rugians, then came the Goths and the Gepides, afterwards the Kashubians, from which Oskar descends in direct line. Shortly after the Poles sent Adalbert of Prague. He came with the Holy Cross and was slain by Kashubians or Prussians with their axes. It happened in a fishing village, and this village was called Gyddanyzc. From Gyddanyzc they made Danczik, from Danzcik Dantzig, that later was written as Danzig, and today Danzig is called Gdansk.”

After revisiting his home town in 1958 Grass wrote: “Even when we are travelling through places that we have left behind, places which have been destroyed or lost, which sound unfamiliar or have names that are new, even then we may suddenly be seized by a memory. That is what happened to me in the spring of 1958 when I visited the city of Gdansk for the first time since the war, as it slowly emerged from its heaps of rubble, and I hoped that here and there I might come across some surviving trace of what Danzig had once been.”

“Business Travel” in Gdansk offers the following tour: “Tracing Gunter Grass' heroes” with the following text: “Walking around Gdansk by Gunter Grass heroes' trace we begin in Wrzeszcz, because here in Wrzeszcz most of his history took place. By Kilinskiego Street we walk to the Golebiowska Street, next to Pestalozziego St. where Pestalozziego School is situated. Here in this school Oskar Matzerath spend his first and only one day of study. Gunter Grass also attended this school. Walking farther we pass Wybickiego Square, going to Lelevela Street, where under number 13 Gunter Grass used to lived. From Komorowski Square, we go by tram to Brzezno, next to the downtown of Gdansk. Sightseeing of the Old Town.”