1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Intellectuals call for support of Ukraine

Torsten Landsberg
November 17, 2022

The more than 70 signatories of the open call demand more support for Ukraine to help the country survive winter during the war.

Two people carrying wood on bicycles along a muddy path.
Ukrainians collecting firewood from abandoned trench structures of the Russian army to heat their homesImage: Gleb Garanich/REUTERS

More than 70 intellectuals have signed an open letter first published in news weekly Der Spiegel to raise awareness of the need to support Ukraine. As their statement points out, "After Putin's plan to crush Ukraine militarily and wipe it out as an independent nation failed, and still facing determined resistance supported by Ukrainian society, [Russia's goal] is now to bring the country to its knees by destroying its vital supply structures — especially the energy system."

The signatories, which include two Nobel Prize winners, the German Herta Müller and the Belarusian Svetlana Alexievich, call for more private donations, increased support from humanitarian organizations, and providing more technical assistance and further arms deliveries to Ukraine.

Chechnya and Syria as cruel role models

"We don't see this war ending any time soon," Ulrich Schreiber, director of the Berlin International Literature Festival and co-initiator of the appeal, told DW. The past few months have shown "that one cannot do enough."

Ulrich Schreiber: a man with white hair and glasses.
Ulrich Schreiber, director of the International Literature Festival Berlin, is a co-initiator of the appealImage: Gerd Roth/dpa/picture alliance

With their call, the signatories also want to prevent people from becoming numb to the war happening in Europe. "Those signs of fatigue are human; we know this phenomenon from other wars and other catastrophes," says Schreiber, referring to the wars in Chechnya and Syria.

The open letter also refers to those conflicts: "The methods of a war of annihilation against the civilian population that were tried and tested in Chechnya and Syria, executed in an exemplary way in Grozny and Aleppo, are now being applied to the free nation of Ukraine as a whole."

Winter's increased threats

The open call also refers to the hardships linked to the cold season: "You can already see what it means when heating, lights and electrical appliances fail. There is no drinking water; windows are not replaced. Cities are sinking into darkness, schools and kindergartens have to close, hospitals can no longer treat their patients and companies have to stop working."

Singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann, politician and author Ralf Fücks and writer Daniel Kehlmann have also signed the appeal.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, several open letters have already been published, both from supporters and opponents of Germany's arms deliveries.

This article was originally written in German.