Peace Prize laureates demand an end to reprisals against Svetlana Alexievich and the Belarusian population

© Margarita Kabakova

Aleida and Jan Assmann, Margaret Atwood, Carolin Emcke, David Grossman, Navid Kermani, Jaron Lanier, Wolf Lepenies, Liao Yiwu, Claudio Magris, Orhan Pamuk, Boualem Sansal, Friedrich Schorlemmer and others sign declaration / Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels supports appeal

In view of the threats to which Peace Prize laureate Svetlana Alexievich and the citizen of Belarus are exposed, the winners of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, their laudators and the Foundation Board express their solidarity with the Belarusian population and make the following statement formulated by Karl Schlögel:

"On Tuesday, September 8, 2020, 'men in black masks' (Svetlana Alexievich) appeared in front of the Minsk apartment of the Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 2013, the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2015 and numerous other international awards. On August 26, she had already been summoned to an interrogation by the public prosecutor's office in Minsk, which is investigating members of the Coordination Council of Oppositional Forces including the writer.

This is another attempt by the government of Alexander Lukashenka to crush the peaceful popular movement against the falsification of the elections on August 9 with police terror, torture and kidnappings. After the arrest, abduction and forced exiles of her friends by the Coordinating Council, Svetlana Alexievich is the only one who has not been arrested. In her conversation with journalists on September 8, she rejected all of Lukashenka's accusations of alleged coup d'état and encouraged him to engage in dialogue with the popular movement.

She has done nothing other than what she was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 2013 for: to speak the truth and lend her voice to all those who rebel against humiliation, injustice and disregard for human dignity - whether they were the victims of the German attack on the Soviet Union, the Soviet soldiers killed in the Afghanistan war, the victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster or of the human tragedies in the post-Soviet world. Her books move millions of readers in Germany and all over the world. Svetlana Alexievich stands in the best tradition of an 'intelligentsia' that has always been respected and loved in Europe for its love of truth, its commitment to the 'humiliated and insulted' and for its courage.

We express our solidarity with Svetlana Alexievich and her companions from the Coordination Council and demand the cessation of intimidation and terror measures against her and against the movement of the Belarusian people, which has been so peaceful so far. We call on everyone, wherever they are active - whether in government offices, diplomacy, cultural and scholarly circles - to use their influence to oppose Alexander Lukashenka's attempt to silence Svetlana Alexievich and her companions and to stifle the freedom movement.



Aleida und Jan Assmann, Peace Prize winner 2018
Margaret Atwood, Peace Prize winner 2017
Klaus Brinkbäumer, member of the Board of Trustees of the Peace Prize
Carolin Emcke, Peace Prize winner 2016
David Grossman, Peace Prize winner 2010
Moritz Helmstaedter, member of the Board of Trustees of the Peace Prize
Navid Kermani, Peace Prize winner 2015
Nadja Kneissler, member of the Board of Trustees of the Peace Prize
Jaron Lanier, Peace Prize winner 2014
Wolf Lepenies, Peace Prize winner 2006
Liao Yiwu, Peace Prize winner 2012
Claudio Magris, Peace Prize winner 2009
Hans Maier, Laudation 1986
Ethel Matala de Mazza, member of the Board of Trustees of the Peace Prize
Peter von Matt, Laudation 2011
Eva Menasse, Laudation 2017
Norbert Miller, Laudation 2015
Orhan Pamuk, Peace Prize winner 2005
Boualem Sansal, Peace Prize winner 2011
Joachim Sartorius, Laudation 2005
Karl Schlögel, Laudation 2009 und 2013
Karin Schmidt-Friderichs, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of the Peace Prize
Friedrich Schorlemmer, Peace Prize winner 1993
Gesine Schwan, Laudation 1977


Börsenverein supports appeal

The German Publishers & Booksellers Association reiterates the appeal of its Peace Prize winners. "For the book industry, the observance of human rights and freedom of opinion is one of the cornerstones of our self-image," says CEO Alexander Skipis. "That is why we too will do everything possible to ensure that Svetlana Alexievich and the Belarusian people can exercise their rights and freedoms. For totalitarian rulers, the restriction of the freedom of speech is one of the most perfidious instruments for establishing or supporting autocratic systems. We support the German government in taking decisive action against such developments and consistently standing up for human and civil rights."


More about the award winner