La danse du destin

Sarajevo, 12 ans après

Sanela and the library books

Listen to testimony

During the war this student helped to organize the files and the books that were saved from the fire at the National Library, housed in the stately Vijecnica, the Austrian-era Orientalist Town Hall bombed in the first days of the siege in April 1992. Thousands of books went up in flames but students and others tried to save what written history remained of the Bosnian culture. Today the young woman is a renowned doctor, and works for an UN organization. We met together at the National Library…
“I’m Senela Krehic. I am one of the inhabitants of Sarajevo who remained in the city between 1992 and 1996. During this period, I worked for academic and national libraries. Between 1 994 and 1995, you came to see me. You were interested in our library that had been destroyed and you made ​​some photos, including one where I’m sitting in piles of books and that was what was left of our library. It was a place where we kept the remaining publications, and these books were very important for our culture.
  It was our shelter where my colleagues and myself were trying to identify and organize the best books that were not lost in the flames.
Thank you for returning after twelve years to a different Sarajevo.But by seeing those old pictures I realize what we had done and what we still have to do today.
Look around you : our library has received a lot of help for its reconstruction, but it is far from what it was before, the building is still a ruin.
Years pass and I feel we have forgotten that everyone had promised :
“once peace returns, must be as beautiful as before, the symbol and centre of our culture”.
But in the meantime… It’s time to move on.”

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