Günter Grass Says Danish Cartoons Recall Nazi Era

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The Nobel Prize-winning German author Günter Grass likened the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published by a Danish newspaper to Nazi caricatures of Jews, Agence France-Presse reported yesterday.

In an interview published in Portugal in the weekly news magazine Visão, Mr. Grass, whose novels include "The Tin Drum" and "Cat and Mouse," said: "I recommend that everyone have a look at the drawings: they remind one of those published in a famous German newspaper during the time of the Nazis, Der Stürmer. It published anti-Semitic caricatures of the same style." Julius Streicher, the publisher of Der Stürmer, was found guilty of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg war crimes trial and executed in 1946. Mr. Grass said deliberate provocation lay behind the decision by the newspaper Jyllands-Posten to publish the cartoons, which touched off outrage and violent protests among many Muslims. He said the newspaper had been warned that the drawings would be found offensive. The newspaper has defended its decision, saying the cartoons were no different from those published previously that satirized Jesus, the Danish royal family and politicians.

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Mike Schoenberg - 2/19/2006

It seems that there are subjects here in the West that aren't going to be suject of cartoons whether it's lynchings in America, the Holocaust or any other subjects that are going to offend somebody. This doesn't have to be a Clash of Civilisations but rather simply an understanding of common human decency.

Bo Mortensen - 2/17/2006

The reason why these cartoons was published in the first place was to prove or test if we could still speak freely in Denmark.

There have been some cases where people have been beaten up by radical muslims and there have been numerious threats of all kinds.

These radical muslims brings memories of Hitlers Brown Shirts and the way they would 'kill' a free argument.

It's sad to see how Herr Grass is just yet another who speaks before studing the background of this important debate.

Charles Lee Geshekter - 2/17/2006

Absolutely the case!

The cartoons were originally sought to demonstrate the atmosphere of intimidation and violence that usually seems to surround any critical discussion of Islamic culture.

The cartoons themselves were dull and simplistic. That anything so silly and elementary would provoke such vile, destructive and juvenile behavior by so many Muslims says a lot about the grim cultural malaise that afflicts much of the Islamic world.

Juan Antonio Hervada Gim?nez - 2/17/2006

Gunter Grass' one-eyed vision is representative of much of the Western European left.

Indeed, he hasn't seen the cartoons of the Arab press cericaturizing Jews. They are not in Der Stürmer's style, they are often plain translations.