NATIONAL LIBRARY BURNS // 08. 1992.
ZLATA HUSEINCEHAJIC // BOUTIQUE OWNER
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

August 1992

Zlata Huseincehajic
Boutique owner
NATIONAL LIBRARY BURNS

‘I went out in the courtyard, which was partially paved in concrete, because there is a garage, and everything is kind of gray. Behind it is some greenery, and then on the concrete I saw big black pieces of burned paper. And then it was awful. I realized at one moment that the National Library was on fire? These papers were great big pieces of paper, and on these big burned pieces of paper you could make out some of the writing. There must have been really high temperatures. It was terrible. When I went into the house I told everyone. We all were very attached to the National Library building, because it was located on one of main thoroughfares, and wherever you went in Sarajevo, you had to pass the National Library. By that beautiful wonderful building which was truly a symbol, a symbol of the city. I did feel sorry about that building, but I also thought we were finished. Yeah, because at that point we were afraid - we did feel sorry about our city - but we were more afraid for our lives. We were thinking, ‘this is it, this is the end, its coming closer, it’ll be here soon.’ And above my house on the other side was a hill, I have to say this, a clearing. And they were behind the hill. And I always imagined how they would swoop down from that hill like Indians, like in a Western. I was personally interested in that images of crowd of people whom are coming to us down the hills.’

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AUGUST 1992


• A convoy leaving for Germany carrying parentless children is fired on by Serb snipers, killing small children on one of the buses.


• Roma from the neighborhood of Butmir leave for the winter for Italy.


• The aggressor blackmails the city with water. The Bacevo reservoir is cut off. 90% of the city is without water.
• The airport is closed due to shelling.
• The home for the elderly now in a terrible state, being located in no man’s land.
• Israel participates in the air bridge and the provision of humanitarian aid.
• Statement of the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on the events in Bosnia: “Every time the international community says that it will not use force it encourages the aggressor.”
• UNPROFOR becomes the intermediary for restoring electricity and water in the city. Repairing the destroyed power lines is a Sisyphean task. Workers from the state electric company first seek approval from UNPROFOR. Later on the ground they are constantly exposed to snipers and shelling. They repair power lines that will once again be destroyed – and once again they start from scratch.
• Dino Merlin composes the Bosnian national anthem.
• Sarajevo music studios produce numerous hits.


• The Children’s Embassy suspends work. Protests follow by mothers against the Presidency of BiH.
• A Jewish convoy leaves Sarajevo.
• The President of the Yugoslav government, Milan Panic, arrives unannounced in Sarajevo. Alija Izetbegovic refuses to receive him.


• New York, August 14, 1992. The UN Security Council adopts two resolutions on BiH: Resolution 770, approving the use of military force to carry out humanitarian actions in BiH; and Resolution 771, condemning human rights abuses in BiH and enabling the use of military force to enter concentration camps.The UN Security Council confirms resolutions 713 from September 25, 1991; 721 from November 27, 1991; 724 from December 15, 1991; 727 from January 8, 1992; 740 from February 7, 1992; 743 from February 21, 1992; 749 from April 7, 1992 godine; 752 from May 15, 1992; 757 from May 30, 1992; 758 from June 8, 1992; 760 from June 18, 1992; 761 from June 29, 1992; 762 from June 30, 1992; 764 from July 13, 1992; 769 from August 7, 1992. The Security Council reiterates the necessity for an urgent political solution through negotaitions to the situation in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the aim of enabling the country to live in peace and secure its borders.
• The Security Council, acting on Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations:
1. Reaffirms its demand that all sides and interested parties in BiH immediately cease hostilities;
2. Urges all states to take the necessary measures in cooperation with the UN or through regional agencies and arrangements to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Sarajevo and other parts of BiH, wherever needed, by UN humanitarian agencies and others;
3. Requests unimpeded and continuous access to all camps, prisons and internment centers for the International Committee of the Red Cross and other relevant humanitarian organizations; and that all prisoners be treated humanely, and be provided with adequate food, shelter and medical care;
4. Urges all states to submit a report to the Secretary General on measures undertaken in coordination with the UN with the goal of implementing this resolution, and invites the Secretary General to continually consider further measures that could used to secure the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid;
5. Requests all states to provide appropriate support to actions undertaken that are pursuant to this resolution;
6. Requests that all sides and interested parties take the necessary measures to insure the safety of the UN and other personnel engaged in humanitarian aid;
7. Requests that the Secretary General periodically issues reports to the Security Council on the implementation of this resolution;
8. Reaches the decision that will actively follow this issue.
• A Papal envoy attends mass at the Sarajevo Cathedral for the Feast of the Assumption.


• Shelling of Hotel "Evropa”.
• A Children’s Embassy convoy leaves for Belgrade.
• The Airport is closed because a British Hercules C-13 was shot at.
• War vouchers become currency and replace the Yugoslav dinar. The BiH dinar is printed but cannot enter Sarajevo.
• The last active Orthodox Priest Dragutin Ubiparipovic leaves Sarajevo.


• Nenad Kecmanovic, absconded member of the Presidency of BiH, issues an announcement through the Yugoslav news agency “Tanjug” that he is no longer member of the Presidency of BiH.
• Bobby Fisher plays a match in Sveti Stefan, despite the embargo on Yugoslavia.
• A football game is held between the Sarajevo and Zeljo clubs; the final score is 8 – 5.
• The National Library burns after a heavy artillery attack.


• London, August 27, 1992. A peace conference in London begins on the former Yugoslavia under the joint chairmanship of British Prime Minister John Major, UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd of the United Kingdom. The BiH delegation is led by Alija Izetbegovic, and the delegation includes Mile Akmadzic, Haris Silajdzic and Nikola Kovac. The Croat delegation is led by Mate Boban, and the Bosnian Serb delegation by Radovan Karadzic.
• Jose Cutilliero resigns from his position as EC chairman.
• The Serbs are given an unconditional ultimatum to withdraw its heavy artillery within 96 hours.
• In Sarajevo hospitals doctors and medical workers are starving.

THE CITY HALL

The monumental City Hall was built during the period of the Austro-Hungarian rule in 1894. It was built in a pseudo-Moorish style with many decorative elements on its facade, in its central hall, on the staircase and in the ceremonial halls. In 1945 the building regarded by many as the most beautiful building in Sarajevo, was turned into the National Library which contained more than 1 million books, a great number of domestic and foreign periodicals and a collection of rare books. On August 25, 1992, exactly one hundred years after its building had begun, the shelling of the City Hall stared from the Trebevic and other mountains. It was hit by 50 shells and it started to burn a short time before midnight. The uncontainable fire destroyed the whole building, including most of the books. The Sarajevans remember the day by the ashes of books flying above the city. The destroyed City Hall building, the symbol of the besieged city and the barbarity of the aggressor, became the place where concerts and art exhibitions by local and foreign artists were held. The City Hall building is also the place where foreign cameramen keep bumping into each other and where they always start by shooting the glass construction of the City Hall roof turning beneath it in circles.

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