War Childhood: Sarajevo 1992–1995

Bosanski – djetinjstvouratu.com

'War Childhood: Sarajevo 1992–1995' is a book published in 2013. Its goal is to present and explore the collective experience of the children of Sarajevo.

Unique in having been co-created by more than 1,000 people, the book tells this generation's story by presenting a mosaic of memories created out of hundreds of short recollections.

Bosnian edition of the book has been published in 2013. After unique presentation in Sarajevo, it has been presented in Belgrade (Serbia), Graz (Austria) and European Parliament in Brussels (Belgium). Since, it has been translated to six languages. Japanese edition will be published by Shueisha Inc, and German edition has been published by Mirno More – Verein für Friedensprojekte from Austria.

We are still looking for publisher of English edition. If interested to publish or promote this project, please contact us at info@warchildhood.com

Background and concept

The siege of Sarajevo lasted 1,425 days. It was the longest siege in the history of the modern world. More than 11,500 civilians were killed. A further 50,000 were wounded. Death was part of daily life. This is not a project about death, however. It is about the experiences of the survivors. Childhood continued under siege. Tens of thousands of young girls and boys grew up in the surrounded town. This is different from growing up free. This project explores their experiences.

War Childhood is an interactive project. Its goal is to present and explore the collective experience of the children of Sarajevo. An open invitation was issued by web-page for people who were children under siege to send brief summaries of their memories in the form of text messages (160 characters). The idea was to tell this generation's story by creating a mosaic of memories out of these short and unique attachments.

The idea was quickly embraced by people whose upbringing was spent, in part at least, under siege in Sarajevo. They have remained an integral part of the city. More than 1,000 war children now living in 35 countries round the world responded with their memories in just 3 months. Hundreds of them took an active part in the next phase of the project: talking and exchanging their wider experiences and documents (photos, diary entries, letters, drawings...). First project product is a book – a treasury of the memories of Sarajevo's children.

The book has three parts. The first comprises introductory texts on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, the siege of Sarajevo, and the project. The second, main section of the book is a mosaic of the short recollections gathered during implementation of the project. The third section has a visual focus, bringing together keepsakes: photographs, drawings, diary entries, stories, letters, etc.

Unique in having been co-created by 1,100 people, this book also takes a specific approach to the presentation of their memories. The memories collected in the book are presented symmetrically. They are grouped both by theme and by emotion. Some entries from the different groups are mixed, but they are distributed in accordance with a precisely calculated algorithm. In this way, a balance is struck between emotion and theme.

Project author

Jasminko Halilović
Jasminko Halilovic was born in 1988 in Sarajevo. He holds a master degree in Financial Management
from the University of Sarajevo.

Co-author of 'Sarajevo Way' (2006)
Founder of URBAN Association (2007)
Co-author of 'Sarajevo – My City, a Place to Meet' (2010)

He devoted War Childhood project to his wartime friend Mirela Plocic killed in 1994.