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German Nobel laureate Grass criticizes Israeli travel ban


10:35, April 12, 2012

BERLIN, April 11 (Xinhua) -- German Nobel literature laureate Gunter Grass said Israel's travel ban over his recent poem reminded him of similar actions imposed on him decades ago by East Germany Stasi secret police, media reported on Wednesday.

Grass was embroiled in a conflict with Israel after publishing his controversial poem "What needs to be said" earlier this month, in which he accused Israel of endangering world peace with unchecked nuclear power.

The writer made his public response to the travel ban in an article to be published on Thursday's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

"Now it's the interior minister of a democracy, the state of Israel, who punished me with a travel refusal and whose reason for imposing the ban -- according to the tone -- reminds me of the verdict of Minister (Erich) Mielke," Grass wrote.

Erich Mielke was Stasi secret police chief of GDR, or the Minister of State Security, from 1957 until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

"The GDR does not exist anymore," he continued to write. "But as a nuclear power of unchecked extent, the Israeli government is arbitrary and until now no warning is available."

Although facing an entry refusal, the 84-year-old German writer said he still see himself "irredeemably connected to the land of Israel."

On Sunday, Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai said Grass was a persona non grata in his country.

Grass was awarded the Nobel prize in 1999 with his famous anti-war novel "The Tin Drum." For years, he represented a German generation that experienced the Nazi era and kept self-reflecting the war guilty of themselves and their parents.


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