SS past of Grass 'was about to be uncovered'

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THE German author Günter Grass admitted that he had been in the Waffen-SS to pre-empt the release of the information from the East German secret police archive next year, a regional newspaper claimed.

The information about Grass's past is contained in Nazi era records compiled by the Stasi, the secret police of the communist government of former East Germany. The files were used for blackmail, the Kölner Stadtanzeiger wrote.

Historians have been working through the archive's 800,000 files since 2001 and they are to be made public by the end of March. Grass would normally have to give his permission for his file to be made accessible to the public.

But researchers said the likelihood was that he would not have been able to keep his files a secret.

In separate records from the US military archives published yesterday, the "prisoner of war'' Günter Grass is identified as a former private in the Waffen-SS on files compiled while he was held captive by allied troops in what is now the Czech Republic.

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