Date of Interview


Interview Location

St. Louis, MO

Length of Interview


Date of Birth




Religion and/or Ethnicity



Born in Tuzla to a secular Muslim family, but his grandfather was an Imam prior to SFRJ. Prior to the war, he spent time split between his home in Tuzla and his grandparent village Gornja Tuzla. He had friends of all ethnic backgrounds and finished his 1st year of high school before the start of war. He remembers the 1990’s census and the first-time he was asked to declare ethnic background. Memories of propaganda films in the 80s/90s of Serbs fighting Turks, and the bones of Tsar Lazar travelling around to Serb communities ahead of conflict. Initially went to Zagreb before the start of war and the to Đakovo but faced discrimination while in Croatia. He returned to Tuzla in August 1992, and the first shelling of the city occurred morning after his return. All Serbs received a letter ahead of siege telling them to evacuate. At a point, there was nothing left in the stores except for salt. Received ration cards, and had to get up early to receive ½ loaf of bread and 250dL of milk. Eventually rations ran out. Father was a chemical engineer and his business partners from around Europe sent food. Made a tough type of corn bread from industrial corn meant to feed livestock and plum jam. Would dig up chicory and roast the root to brew as coffee substitute. War profiteers would smuggle people out, buy cigarettes with profit and resell for crazy amounts of money. He remembers people lining up and paying 1 German mark for a puff off a cigarette. He describes getting used to life during wartime. Would shelter during shelling for first 3 months of war and then stopped caring. He remembers Serbs beginning to send just 1 shell on the hour every hour. There had been no shelling for 2-3 months prior to Tuzla massacre on 25MAY1995. He did not feel like going out that night, to the square where young people hung out, and went to a friends house to play music. He remembers the one shell hit and hearing all the sirens and cars going by. He got home and his parent’s were going crazy because he didn’t call and then he saw the news on TV. His cousin Goran and friend Rusko were killed. That was when he decided that this was truly a crazy situation and he wanted to get out. He had been drafted a year early but was conflicted about fighting after seeing the toll it was taking on returning soldiers. Meories of trucks coming from Srebrenica and hearing about what happened but did not know anyone. He was a member of an avant-garde theater troop, who got invited to perform at Fringe Festival in Scotland. He left Tuzla in August 1995 and went to Zagreb to get visa to go to Scotland. Stayed in Scotland until end of the war and returned to Croatia to get visa for America. Landed in NYC in January 1996 and then lived in LA with his uncle. He moved out shortly after and went to college. He began having nightmares and flashbacks of war. He started writing to deal with his PTSD. He resisted connecting with other Bosnians in America because he does not want to be seen as broken. He considers himself a Bosnian American and America is home. His parents and brother still live in Tuzla. The Bosnian he loves no longer exists, but he wishes to pass on culture and tradition to children.


Tuzla, Croatia, Zagreb, Los Angeles [CA], United States, Los Angeles [CA], Pacific Northwest, Tuzla Massacre, Escapism, PTSD, Nightmares, Isolation, Rations, Shelling, Food Shortages, Art, Theatre, Literature, Writing

Pre-War Residence


Wartime Residence


First Country of Residence


First US Residence

Los Angeles, CA

Document Type

Oral History


Fontbonne University

Digital Format

MP3, MP4

Digital Publisher

Center for Bosnian Studies


St. Louis, MO

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