Genocide Film Library Bosnia-Herzegovina records 1000th testimony
SARAJEVO – Today, the Cinema for Peace Foundation filmed the 1000th interview with a survivor of the Srebrenica genocide for the Genocide Film Library Bosnia-Herzegovina. The implementation of this project is expected to last until 2017, at which point the Genocide Film Library will be comprised of 10,000 survivor testimonies. The Genocide Film Library is supported by governmental institutions, national and international courts, and the family associations of the victims and survivors of the Srebrenica genocide. In 2013, the Cinema for Peace Foundation looks forward to cooperating with theUniversity of California's Shoah Foundation, founded by Steven Spielberg, in the implementation of this important project. In joining forces with the Shoah Foundation, it seeks to prevent future genocides and to preserve the memories of the victims and the stories of the survivors of the Srebrenica genocide.
The Genocide Film Library Bosnia-Herzegovina, which received initial funding by the Federal Republic of Germany's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2012, is an oral history project that enables Srebrenica genocide survivors to tell and record their life stories. Personal support to the project has been given by Angelina Jolie, who has donated funds and called the project as "important and necessary“. The archives of the Genocide Film Library are to be made available online, and to museums, like-minded organizations, and educational institutions around the world.
Many of the survivors of the Srebrenica genocide never had the opportunity to speak about what they and their family members experienced in Srebrenica between 1992 and 1995. The Genocide Film Library is a resource that preserves stories which had never before been told. When watching the video testimonies, we can learn about the moments Srebrenica genocide survivors will never forget – their suffering, fear, feelings of powerless and separation from their loved ones.
Dr. Guido Westerwelle, Germany's Foreign Minister, explains: „ History must not be forgotten. It must be remembered, it must be told, it must be preserved. This is why I am glad that Germany initially supported and funded the Genocide Film Library. Its documentation is an essential contribution to the lengthy and for many painful, albeit necessary process of reconciliation in Bosnia-Herzegovina.“
The voices of survivors will remain a permanent record for generations to come, as well as aim to prevent possible crimes in the future. Given that the testimonies of people who survived genocide have immense educational value, it is intended that the Genocide Film Library Bosnia-Herzegovina will be made available around the world. Some of the testimonies included in the Genocide Film Library are accessible via the Cinema for Peace Foundation's web site www.cinemaforpeace.ba to ensure access globally.
“We spoke to men who survived detention camps and torture, and who walked through the woods for months trying to reach free territory,“ says Naida Balić, Genocide Film Library Interviewer. „We spoke to women who are proud and have the strength to survive and to fight. Among the recorded stories are powerful recollections of those who were children during the war. We were honored to speak to members of the elderly generation, who were born in the 1920s and 1930s. The Genocide Film Library will ensure that the stories of Srebrenica genocide survivors remain a reminder of all the terrible events from the past, and that their voices are never forgotten and a lesson will be learned for future generations.”
The 1000th interviewee was Rifet Kadrić (39) from Bratunac. In his testimony Mr Kadrić reported how his family members were killed: "During the March of Death I told my father that we are not going in the right direction. I had a feeling something bad is going to happen. My father told me to continue alone in the other direction, so we don't see each other dying." Mr Kadrić believes that the Genocide Film Library is very important because „it is aiming to preserve the memory and the truth about Srebrenica genocide. All Srebrenica genocide survivors should record their testimony for the Genocide Film Library, so we can prevent future genocides and never forget Srebrenica genocide.“
The Genocide Film Library is being produced in studios in Sarajevo and Tuzla. It is planned to start recording personal testimonies in Srebrenica by spring of 2013. The Cinema for Peace Foundation aims is to document, in an audiovisual format, the life stories of 10.000 Srebrenica survivors, particularly those who previously haven't had the opportunity to share their recollections of the period between 1992 and 1995.
To view the testimonies of Srebrenica genocide survivors, please check the links below:
Fatima Aljić (63), Srebrenica: "These are wounds that will never be healed."
Šuhra Ahmetović (58), Šušnjari: "My child was about to get out of the house when he said to me: Mother, what do you think which way is safer for me – to go through the woods or to go to Potočari - I do not dare, mother, to go to Potočari, they killed my father, took him away – they will take me away!"
Ramiza Gurdić (59), Višegrad: "It was 15:00 hours when the radio announced that Srebrenica is about to fall."
Ejub Gušter (48), Cerska: "We struggled to survive...but so many of us did not."
Munira Ademović (64), Srebrenica: "When we got out of the buses, as we were being unloaded, the driver told us: Look back and take a good look at where you came from. You will never go back there..."
Rahima Muminović (59), Velika Daljegošta: "Knowing that I would be killed... that I would die... didn't bother me. I am so sorry for the children that don't have a single parent."
Bahrija Smajlović (44), Liješće: "Of course we cried and waited for our loved ones to arrive through the woods, and wondered whether they would come. However, our hope faded with each passing day...and then there was no hope left that they would come."
Senad Malagić (50), Voljavica: "I was conscious of the situation and knew at that time that many of us were seeing our families for the final time. I then began to think that perhaps I was one of them..."
Bida Osmanović (64), Suha: "Our hearts have been wounded, but we have raised our heads."
Hanifa Suljić (58), Mošići : "That was the most horrific day of my life. This horror will remain until the day I die and the last shovel of dirt is thrown over my body. I will never forget that day."