Dear J. K. Rowling,
it is not news to anybody that, from the very beginning, your books have been subject to attacks, particularly from Christian fundamentalists. And yet the book burnings which took place a few days ago in Poland and the fundamentalist behaviour these represent have reached a new level.
That is what prompted me, Zaklin Nastic, as a German-Polish Member of the Bundestag, to issue the following press statement in response: “The fact that yesterday in Gdansk, fantasy literature such as Harry Potter books were burned along with Hindu and occult symbols from African cultures, with reference being made to their alleged sacrilegious and profane character, reflects a general reactionary trend in Poland, and brings to mind parallels with book burnings by the German fascists. It is especially worrying that now even fantasy literature is to be banished from cultural life”.
We believe that Culture is what gives us common ground as people. It is our language, the legacy of every one of us, and our shared future.
It is an essential part of our journey in search of greater freedom, self-determination, adventure – simply put: our quest for new and better things.
Art and culture have always been a litmus test for democracy’s standing in society. And in this respect it is important to hold fast to the fact that we do not need to personally find a piece of art good, correct, or pleasing, but that art itself must remain free.
Incidentally, we both very much enjoyed reading the Harry Potter series in Polish in the past.
The image of burning books is one that reopens old wounds and is particularly unbearable for us as a politician, an artist, and as Polish women.
While it is not our duty to apologise on behalf of those who carried out this act, we will do all that we can to ensure that it does not happen again.
Zaklin Nastic – Member of German Bundestag
Renata Kaminska – German-Polish Artist