According to Allen's book, Ratzinger was a member only briefly and did not attend any meetings. He went on to continue his Catholic studies until he was drafted into an antiaircraft unit, from which he says he deserted in the final weeks of the war. The German newspaper Bild ran a photograph Wednesday of a fresh-faced Ratzinger in his soldier's uniform.
During his annual visits to the area, Ratzinger takes long walks with his brother, 81, visits seminary classes and talks to young students. Frauenlob says he can also be heard practicing the piano in the ground-floor music room.
Liberal Germans were shocked when they learned of Ratzinger's elevation to the papacy. "Oh My God" read the front page headline of Die Tageszeitung, a liberal daily.
But Frauenlob contends such fears are exaggerated. "How do you define conservative?" he asked. "The slogan does not reflect the complexity of the person. We should be fair enough to give him the time to develop" in his new role.
Georg Zandl, 81, a retired priest and friend of both brothers, insists that his old friend is less rigid than he is portrayed.
"It's natural that he's a conservative, but he is a very modest and friendly and open-minded person," said Zandl, who says his friend understands that "the church has to be constantly in a process of reform."
Frauenlob said he and the seminary's 54 students were sitting down to dinner when the news flashed that white smoke had emerged from the Sistine Chapel chimney, signaling a victor. They raced for the TV room, and waited anxiously until the name of the new pope was announced.
"Chills went down my back when I heard the name," he said.
The seminarians let up a loud cheer, then attended Mass. Afterward, they drank champagne in celebration.
"I also regretted it somewhat," Frauenlob added. "Because the greatness and the meaning of the position is a very heavy burden on his shoulders."
Special correspondent Petra Krischok contributed to this report.