SURVIVAL IN AUSCHWITZ - SURVIVAL IN SARAJEVO // 02. 1994.
GRETA FERUSIC // RETIRED ARCHITECTURE PROFESSOR
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

February 1994

Greta Ferusic
Retired architecture professor
SURVIVAL IN AUSCHWITZ - SURVIVAL IN SARAJEVO

‘Although sometimes, living in Sarajevo during the war, we did run the streets like chased wild animals, we had some sort of dignity, and we used to keep each other company. We felt like people. I can say that we were people with spirit, people who wanted to fight for their freedom in spite of impossible conditions. The people in Auschwitz were walking shadows, which were moving around according to instinct, for they wanted to survive. It is very difficult to say how successful they actually were, because those were terrible conditions, which did not make possible any form of progress. We were only numbers, people with no name. Our future differed from man to man, and it depended upon our own capacities. These were the power of the body and the power of the soul. From the early morning till the late night everything there was intended to destroy, first the spirit, then the body of a man.’

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FEBRUARY 1994


• Prediction of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman: Bosnia and Herzegovina is possible only as a NATO base.


• Sarajevo visited by the president of the Turkish government, Tansu Ciller, and the president of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto. From Sarajevo, the two presidents send universal messages to the world about civilization, tolerance and coexistence.


• Massacre of civilians at the football field in Dobrinja.
• UPI, the agricultural directorate, provides tips on raising plants in an apartment.


• Massacre at the marketplace "Markale" in downtown Sarajevo. 66 dead, 197 wounded. Reactions across the world: NATO Secretary General William Claes: "Attack!" The U.S.: "First, we need to determine who fired the shell." The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the U.K., Douglas Hurd, "We need to return to negotiations." UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali: "An abhorrent act of violence."


• The Mayor of Sarajevo, Muhamed Kresevljakovic, tours the marketplace - the site of the massacre - with the UN General Michael Rose, Yasushi Akashi, and Jean Cote. Akashi asks for a complete ceasefire.
• BiH authorities demand that the Bosnian Serbs remove their artillery from the surrounding hills. The Bosnian Serbs refuse to withdraw their guns.
• By order of the police (MUP), all the markets in the city are closed.


• Statement of the Croatian government regarding possible sanctions for Croatia due to the entry of the Croatian army in Bosnia and Herzegovina: "If Croatia is hit with sanctions we will expel all of our Bosnian refugees to the countries which support these sanctions."


• The French Foreign Minister Allain Juppé demands decisive action or the withdrawal of troops.
• In Paris, a demonstration for the lifting of the siege of Sarajevo. The philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy organizes the demonstration.
• SDS leader Radovan Karadzic seeks an immediate expert investigation of the shell crater at the "Markale" market and autopsies of the victims: "The fate of all nations, as well as the fate of Europe itself, now depends on it."


• NATO sends an ultimatum to the Bosnian Serbs: Ordnance must withdraw to 20 km from Sarajevo. If not, air strikes will follow. On this occasion, the U.S. president, Bill Clinton, says: "With NATO's decision, the United States has shown it will no longer be only an observer to a conflict that offends the conscience and endangers peace."
• A UN team of experts makes a ballistic analysis: "The direction from which the missile approached was approximately at an angle of 18 degrees between north and east, which corresponds to the wider region of Mrkovici, which was controlled by the Bosnian Serbs."
• The U.S. recognizes Macedonia.


• UN troops are placed along the line of demarcation.


• Stocks fall on European stock exchanges: world capital concerns over the possible eruption of conflict in the former Yugoslavia.


• Negotiations in Geneva fail. Thorvald Stoltenberg: "Will the Serbs withdraw from territories that the Muslims are asking for? We were unable to resolve this issue. In late February or early March we expect to continue negotiations. "
• BH Olympians participate in the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.


• The Bosnian Serbs halt the handover of heavy weapons, setting new conditions. "Hercules" planes monitor them by night and locate places where the Bosnian Serbs are hiding weapons.
• Croatia lays out requirements for the withdrawal of the Croatian army in Bosnia: They request that the UN insure the security of the Croat enclave in central Bosnia.


• U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin meet: They agree on their respective roles: the U.S. will influence the Muslims and the Russians the Serbs.
• Meeting between Akashi, UN and NATO representatives. They discuss air strikes. UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali gives authorization to Akashi to perform the strikes. Officials at embassies are leaving Belgrade because of the danger of attacks.


• February 21st is D-Day for the withdrawal of the Bosnian Serbs′ heavy artillery. The procedure for the strike and the beginning of the strike: Commander of UNPROFOR, General Michael Rose, revokes the strike, while Yasushi Akashi approves the strike. British Prime Minister John Major has the task of convincing the Russian president, Boris Yeltsin that the Brussels ultimatum does not mean that the West is leaning toward the government in Sarajevo, but rather is an effort to end the massacre and terror against civilians.
• In Sarajevo, a new round of humanitarian aid, containing: 1,250 grams of beans, 333 grams of oil, 300 grams of sugar, 1 kilogram of flour.
• Sarajevo doctors complement professional medical nomenclature: dispersio corporis or total disappearance of individuals from the effects of an explosion.


• The commander of the Bosnian Serb army, Ratko Mladic: "We will not withdraw our weapons, we will not leave our people defenseless before fanatical Muslim units." Radovan Karadzic, leader of the SDS, "The Atlantic Alliance wants to show its power to the Russians over the Serbs. This could lead to World War III, and the Serbs have never lost a war.”
• China is against attacks.


• Juan Antonio Samaranch visits the former Olympic city, Sarajevo.


• Vitali Churkin hands a letter to Yeltsin requesting the Serbs withdraw their weapons in order to stop the bloodshed. The Serbs promise to withdraw their weapons.


• Clinton rejects Yeltsin's proposal for holding an international conference on Bosnia. In the future, yes, but not now.


• UN checkpoints where the heavy artillery of the Bosnian Serbs is kept are guarded by 10 UN soldiers. The checkpoints are located in populated areas making air strikes impossible. Even if the international community wanted to perform an intervention over these weapons, they would not be able to do it.


• Manfred Woerner, NATO Secretary General: "We will follow the recommendations of Akashi, Rose and Cote not to carry out a strike, but if they attack Sarajevo we will intervene."
• Russia has a diplomatic breakthrough. A Russian UN battalion arrives in Pale, the capital of the Bosnian Serbs. Radovan Karadzic: "With the Russians beside us, we have nothing to fear."
• Question from journalists for UNPROFOR General Michael Rose: "What will you do one hour after midnight, when the ultimatum expires?" Rose: "I'll be in bed."
• Radovan Karadzic: "We'll shoot back if we‘re attacked."


• In an interview for TV BiH, Alija Izetbegovic states, "They have retreated, and it is our victory, because they are not killing us anymore. You can let your kids go skating freely, they can go to school. "
• Moscow: "This is our diplomatic victory. The ultimatum has not been strictly respected, and a penalty has not been imposed. "
• Re-establishment of the "air bridge."


• In Washington, negotiations start between the Croats and Muslims on the establishment of the federation.


• The UN Security Council discusses the French proposal of lifting the siege of Sarajevo and setting up a civilian administrator.
• Life returns to the city. People walk on the streets, children play.

Modern Sarajevan

He has to have, and on a visible spot, at least one accreditation, seemingly just a piece of paper with his photograph. But beware - accreditation is the law in the besieged city, a proof of belonging to someone which makes you important. Those with local ID. are not more than the second-rate citizens. So, the modern Sarajevan has the accreditation, weapons, a good car, and a complete uniform. The owner of a bullet-proof vest is regarded with honor. The one who doesn’t wear uniform, has an ax in his right hand for cutting down the trees, and a series of canisters on the left shoulder. His image would be complete with a mask against poison gas.
A modern woman from Sarajevo cuts the wood, carries humanitarian aid, smaller canisters filled with water, does not visit a hair-dresser nor a beautician. She is slim, and runs fast. Girls regularly visit the places where humanitarian aid is being distributed. They know the best aid-packages according to their numbers. They get up early to get the water, visit cemeteries to collect some wood, and greet new young refugees. Many are wearing golden and silver lilies as earrings, as pins, on the necklaces.
Sarajevo is a city of slender people. Its citizens could be authors of the most up-dated diets. No one is fat any longer. The only thing you need is to have your city under the siege - there lies the secret of a great shape. Everybody is wearing their youthful clothes of teenage size. Sarajevans lost about four thousand tons (400,000 citizens lost about 10 kilos each). They greet each other with - TAKE CARE!

Experience of Survival

During two years of war, Sarajevo has stabilized within its post-cataclysmic environment. Sarajevo became a new city with a new way and philosophy of living. The 4,000 shells falling per day onto and into this urban landscape brought destruction, but it also brought another insight into the understanding of humanity; the answer to the question of how individuals can create a community out of nothing, and how this particular community in Sarajevo can create a new social group for the 21st Century.
This new philosophy exists in Sarajevo. It is called Survival. It is a philosophy created as a response to terror, a way of recapturing freedom by retaining the fundamentals of humanity; a set of morals, a culture, creativity, tolerance, a clarity of mind, a lack of fear. Humour and innovation have been integrated into every part of life. Even without the hardware of buildings, water, electricity or gas, Sarajevo has not become a dead city. It actually – and in spite of everything – has the software the rest of the world needs.
Sarajevo became a self-contained model of how an urban structure can survive a modern cataclysm. The time of the Warsaw ghetto entered history. The siege of Leningrad has been almost forgotten. The siege of Sarajevo, its 900 days under siege, surpassed all the horrors we've seen in documentaries and read about in history books. Sarajevo's fate, its actual day to day life has become something we've only seen in science fiction movies. Sarajevo's The Day After has proved that the city holds the skills and the knowledge needed to respond to the greatest degree of change in life, using human instincts and keeping the ideals of humanity on a practical level. The knowledge and the skills Sarajevo has accumulated are the knowledge the rest of the world needs in preparation for the 21st Century.
Everything is possible. Subsisting on the bare necessities, Sarajevo doesn't use pesticides or create pollution. It has become the greatest of all green cities on Earth. The entire city is trying to realize the New Age objectives of health, ecological, agricultural awareness, recycling and self sufficiency.
But, this perfect model of Survival can only be realized through the support of the international community. Sarajevo needs technology, education, and cultural information from the rest of the World.
The World needs Sarajevo's experience of Survival.

DANGEROUS ZONES

Every area of the city was a dangerous zone. At every moment, from all the places in the mountains surrounding the city the snipers could hit every target in the city. Therefore the most dangerous zones were those directly in the line of fire Bridges, crossroads and streets exposed to the mountains. Those were the places where the possibility of getting shot was somewhat lessened if one was a fast runner. Such places also seemed less terrifying than other parts of town where one was never sure whether one should walk fast or slow. Would the shell land where you are or in front of you? The signs DANGEROUS ZONE or WATCH OUT, SNIPER, as well as the signs showing the direction of traffic were written in oil-based paint on pieces of UNHCR plastic sheets, or on pieces of cardboard, wooden board or simply written with chalk on the wall.

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