Date of Interview


Interview Location

St. Louis, MO

Length of Interview


Date of Birth




Religion and/or Ethnicity



He was born in Tuzla to secular Muslim parents. His father produced movies, and his mother was a musician. He did poorly in school, so his parents pushed him into the arts. He travelled a lot as a youngster and enjoyed exploring other cultures. He noticed things getting bad politically starting in 1987. He was very optimistic until the very end that things would settle down. His wife, a pediatrician, had just gotten pregnant and had just had kidney surgery when the war started. He recalls switching to survival mode in which you begin to recognize the sound of bombs, where to hide, how to dive, and how to get food. After months you become a "survival zombie". He had relatives living in Zagreb, but his wife wanted to wait until she was nine months pregnant to travel, ensuring that the baby would have the best chance to survive if anything happened. He rented an emergency vehicle and put a fake red cross sticker on the sides and hood. They travelled south through Herzegovina to Dubrovnik to avoid Serb lines. It took 26 hours to get to Zagreb, a journey that typically takes 4-6 hours. This was the end of 1992. They stayed for a year in Zagreb until things started getting rough for refugees, and there were regular police inspections. He would call his wife "Kristina" instead of Mirsada to avoid attention. They applied to many countries and was finally accepted to America and left on 04MAR1994. They first stayed with friends in NYC for a few weeks, but it was hard to find work or an apartment. They moved to Louisville, where his wife's first cousin was working as an OB/GYN. His wife, who had been a pediatrician in Yugoslavia, was able to skip to the 3rd year of medical residency and began working in a factory. She was given an attending and faculty position, and he then went back to school to study computer science. It was two years before they got a house, and he began making art again. His father saved all his art from before the war. He gained US citizenship after five years and started travelling again to make up for years of suffering. He considers himself American because the country gave him so much opportunity. Does not go back to Bosnia often because it is depressing.


Tuzla, Zagreb, Louisville [KY], New York [NY], United States, Artist, Multi-ethnic family, Pregnancy, Infant, Pediatrician, Police, Tudjman, Refugee, Discrimination, Code-switching, Citizenship, Higher Education, Parent during the war, Escape, Resettlement

Pre-War Residence


Wartime Residence


First Country of Residence


First US Residence

New York, NY

Document Type

Oral History


Fontbonne University

Digital Format

MP3, MP4

Digital Publisher

Center for Bosnian Studies


St. Louis, MO

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In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.