Ich weiss, dass sie alte Nachricht ist, but around 2008 in his memoir, Beim Häuten die Zwiebel, Grass admitted that he had been a part of the Waffen SS, though he never told anyone of this. Does this change your view of him? Von mir aus, es ist kein Ding. He was 16 years old at the time and liked the military which I think was a very natural thing for any German boy born in 1927. He wanted to the join the navy and tried to join when he was 15 but was turned away for being too young but was told that they'll call him when he turned 16. Sure enough they did. When he received his induction letter and showed up in Dresden, he learned he would be a part of the Waffen SS. He was not aware of its bad reputation, quite the contrary he thought that unit had a sort of cosmopolitan air about it since they had French, Belgian and other units from the European countries, obwohl sie sehr klein waren. In short, he did not know that they were the worse of the worse. Ok, so he cannot be criticized for joining the Waffen SS but can be criticized for covering it up? That's too difficult a question to answer. This becomes immediate obvious when we try to think what we ourselves would do if we were in that situation. For me, that hypothetical is impossible. An American born in 1976 has very little idea what it would be like to be a German born in 1927, so much so that I think it's fair to say that the question cannot be answered.
Es gibt jedoch eine Tatsache that helps me make a judg(e)ment on this issue. I have told very small lies about my employment history to prospective employers. So I used to do a lot of job-hopping and I sometimes got fired for trivial reasons, so sometimes I would put down on my resume that I worked at such and such job for two years rather than 1.5 years. So if I am unable to tell the truth about such trivial things then I think it's fair to say that if I had been Grass then I too would have covered up this fact. And it for this reason mainly that I do not blame Grass for keeping this issue secret.