Web dialogue: Response of Hanna Komar

13.08.2021 17:00

Hanna Komar is an award-wining poet, translator and human rights activist who lives in Minsk, Belarus. She wrote the poem Kurt Prüfer after her visit at Topf and Sons – Place of Remembrance in 2018. In the poem, she reflects on Topf and Sons’ engineer Kurt Prüfer’s reasons to design ovens for concentration and extermination camps, asking whether Prüfer ever dealt with his responsibility.

How do you see the actions of Topf & Sons?

Video: Webdialog Hanna Komar © Hanna Komar feat. Pawietra

 “I got interested in the history of the place and took note, in order to later do a research and create a piece about is. I finished the poem in the autumn of 2019, as a story about Kurt Prüfer, but later it started resonating with what’s been happening in Belarus after the presidential election on August 9, 2020. So many ‘Kurt Prüfers’, ‘just doing their jobs’ and destroying hundreds thousands people’s lives and not wishing to take responsibility for that. And we wish a fair trial for them, which history proves to come sooner or later.”

Hanna Komar has published two poetry collections: Fear of Heights in Belarusian and the bilingual collection Recycled. Together with Dmitry Strotsev, she was awarded the 2020 Norwegian Authors Union Freedom of Speech Award. “In my writing, I bring up uncomfortable topics, such as generational trauma, domestic violence, the position of women in society. I also prefer real people’s stories to fictional ones and sometimes turn to the documentary genre.”