Genocide Film Library Bosnia
Following the example of the audiovisual library of the Shoah Foundation, the Genocide Film Library Bosnia shall over a period of five years gather 10,000 interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Bosnian War in a freely accessible online library. The Genocide Film Library Bosnia shall provide study material for schools, universities, museums and other institutions. The video material will also be the basis for a film documentary.
The Cinema for Peace Foundation began operating in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2011, when it established an office tasked with the creation of the Genocide Film Library. Following the example of the Shoah Foundation, the Genocide Film Library will bring together audiovisual testimonies of 10,000 survivors of the Srebrenica genocide. The Genocide Film Library will directly contribute to the Cinema for Peace Foundation’s mission to raise awareness about global social inequalities and injustices through the medium of film.
Each oral history project is unique and the Genocide Film Library will provide an essential contribution to currently available oral history material focused on Bosnia-Herzegovina and the events of the 1992-1995 conflict. Individuals initiating an oral history project should take into account its particular objectives and identify the exact knowledge and background necessary for conducting interviews. Learning how to conduct an oral history interview takes time and practice. As such, this document is not an instructional guide, but rather a detailed description of procedures used for conducting and filming interviews that are part of the Genocide Film Library.
It is critical to note that these interviews are treating an extremely sensitive topic – that of genocide. The interviewees are individuals who bore first-hand witness to these horrific events. Thus, interviewees must be treated with the utmost respect. They require attention and understanding to ensure that a high-quality interview is produced. Through respecting survivors and affording them an appropriate amount of time to share their life stories, participating in this oral history project will not leave the interviewees with the impression that their stories have been misused. Rather, we ultimately seek to provide survivors with a sense of relief following the interview.
Once completed, the Genocide Film Library will be a valuable resource for scholars, educators and students, curators and researchers, NGO activists and filmmakers. The Library is not only a resource for the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but instead a project that will be global in impact.
Detailed systems of cataloguing and indexing have been developed to ensure that the unique nature of each testimony is preserved and that educators can easily find material to incorporate in their classrooms. For cataloguing purposes, in addition to brief biographical information, each testimony is tagged using key words or phrases that will quickly and directly connect a Library user with a fitting primary source. Our search tool is web-based search interface, which Library users can use to view entire testimonies. A limited number of testimonies will be posted online via the Cinema for Peace Foundation’s website, while all footage is to be stored on servers with access made available to respected historical and educational institutions.
“There can be no more important issue, and no more binding obligation, than the prevention of genocide. Indeed, this may be considered one of the original purposes of the United Nations. The “untold sorrow“ which the scourge of war had brought to mankind, at the time when our Organization was established, included genocide on a horrific scale [...] And yet, genocide has happened again, in our time [...] The events of the 1990s, in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda, are especially shameful. The international community clearly had the capacity to prevent these events. But
it lacked the will.”
Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations at the Stockholm International Forum on Preventing Genocide