The head of Germany's main Jewish organization has criticized writer Gunter Grass for waiting decades to reveal that he had served during World War II in the Waffen SS, the Nazis' dreaded military force.
Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of Jews, said Tuesday that the admission negated Grass' longtime criticisms of German politics and society for not adequately dealing with the Nazi past.
"His long years of silence over his own SS past reduce his earlier statements to absurdities," Knobloch was quoted as saying by the Netzeitung online newspaper.
Grass, 78, author of the classic "The Tin Drum" and many other writings, has for decades stood as his country's literary conscience, urging Germany to face up to its Nazi past and warning against any resurgence of imperial ambition. He has been widely criticized after acknowledging in an interview published Saturday that he had served in the Waffen SS. In the interview, he expressed shame at having been part of the organization and said he was making the admission because "it weighed on me."