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12 Jul 12

Srebrenica Survivors' Stories at Sarajevo Film Festival

As part of the 18th Sarajevo Film Festival, the Cinema for Peace Foundation has shown part of its project to create a visual archive of the stories of Srebrenica genocide survivors for the first time. 

Denis Dzidic
BIRN Sarajevo

The foundation showed the life stories of ten Srebrenica genocide survivors, to commemorate the 17th anniversary of the massacre committed by Bosnian Serb forces when more than seven thousand Bosniak men and boys were killed.

“It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon when they told us Srebrenica would fall”, said Ramiza Gurdic in the film, while Senad Malagic told the foundation “I was aware that many of us were seeing our families for the last time and I thought I was one of them”.

Their stories were shown to a packed audience at the Sarajevo Children’s square in Sarajevo.

Naida Balic, the production director of the Cinema for Peace Foundation, said the goal of the project is to document the emotions and memories of ten thousand genocide survivors.

“By recording their memories we are recording an oral history of all survivors. Our plan is to record ten thousand stories, and so far we have recorded more than 230. We call on all Srebrenica survivors to get in touch with us so that they can help us create this visual legacy for the next generation”, said Balic.

Jovan Divjak, a former general of the Bosnian army and president of the Education Builds Bosnia and Herzegovina Foundation, who saw the film, told Balkan Insight that these stories must reach all those who deny genocide.

“A big problem is that our parliament has not issued a declaration condemning the massacre in Srebrenica,“ Divjak added.

Selma Hadzic, the "Cinema for Peace" office director and project manager, said that all of the recorded life stories were “emotional and educational”.

“Our goal is that the Srebrenica genocide survivors become educators, because no one else can explain better what happened in Srebrenica than those who lived there and survived what happened”, she added.

The Cinema for Peace Foundation began operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2011, when it established an office tasked with the creation of the Genocide Film Library.


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