Date of Interview


Interview Location

St. Louis, MO

Length of Interview


Date of Birth




Religion and/or Ethnicity



Remembers Prijedor before the war as a multiethnic city where life was good and everyone shared friendships with everyone else, there was mixed marriages and people did not think about or even know who was Muslim, Catholic or Christian, Enjoyed a great childhood where everyone got along and went ot parties together and dressed like typical teenagers that you might see in 1970s America, In the city most people due to communist belief did not believe in god and almost all households had a picture of Tito on their wall, Noticed changes when visiting a friend in early in 1991 that the picture of Tito was not hanging up, His friend a Bosnian Serb said that Tito no longer existed and that something new was happening, Also around this time many of the programs on radio and television began to portray Serbian as needing to live alone in a new country and that they needed to leave everyone else behind and unite, Did not believe that the war would ever happen as everyone lived together and there was no problems, On the night of April 29th and the early morning of the 30th around 15 to 30 soldiers came to the company where he was employed as a security guard, at the gate they demanded to be let inside and demanded that he called the company secretary who was a Serb while the Bosnian Muslims director of the company was arrested, Noticed that the soldiers had long beards and hair and were not regular JNA soldiers as they had different insignias as well, Let in and once secretary arrived was told that he no longer had a job or a right to work at the company, Went home and woke up the next day to see a checkpoint had been set up on the road by his house and was manned by soldiers of the same type one of them being his close friend from childhood, Attempted to greet friend who said he did not know him or any Muslim and was told to go back inside or he would receive a bullet to the head, Did not do anymore work in May and somehow survived with family on savings they had, On May 30th in the early the Bosnian Serb army with tanks and personal began to drag people from their houses and transport them all to a central field, After being held at field with 3,000 others buses came and the men were separated from the children and women, Taken to via bus to Omarska but along the way the bus was stopped by uniformed men who yelled to be allowed to kill all of them, Bus driver did not open the doors and the buses made to the camp at Omarska, Housed in one building where there was over 1,000 people and there was always more people arriving until the population had reached around 5,000 males some as young as 10, Not even food for first seen days only water from facets in the building, After 7 days if they wanted food or water they were made to run to a small kitchen to eat moldy bread and greasy water from a contaminated creek, They would occasionally force people of up to 150 into smaller rooms and force them to lay on top of each other and close the door while there was no air in the room, Sickness began to spread, One day the guards killed a man who questioned them by emptying a whole clip into him killing two men who were behind him as well, Observed one night eh arrival of a bus in front of the "White House" from a window, As prisoners were called out they were beaten with bats and other objects and some were killed while only a few made it inside the house, They began to question people and would take prisoner to another room next to the room they were in and torture and beat them, Was taken to the room and beaten having his ribs broken then thrown back into the building, Did not regain consciousness for three days and could not eat food for 10 days, The guard would work in three shifts and every shift would select someone to be beaten, While one group of guards beat a prisoner the others laughed, On a night in July during a Orthodox Christian holiday guards burned tires and the bodies of prisoners to make large fires in celebration, After the international press learned of the existence of Omarska camp was closed and was transferred to Trnopolje, Surrounded by barbed wire on all sides and given little food and little water, More international pressure caused the camp to be closed and prisoners to be sent back to the city or transferred to Travnik, Part of 1,500 strong group to be let back in to the city around August 15, 1992, Living back in family home survived by eating anything his wife could find in the gardens around the city that were abandoned, Had to hide from Serbian patrols who were drinking, looting and generally rampaging around the city, Able to get required papers to go with family via convoy to Croatia where he worked for 4 months, Left Croatia and illegally crossed border into Austria with family to seek asylum, After a tense standoff with police he was allowed to stay, Received news that he was going to be kicked out of Austria in 1995, Family from Chicago started process for papers to come to the United States, Interviewed in Vienna and after confirming that he was in a concentration camp received papers to go to the United States, Arrived in Chicago and stayed there for 3 years, Most upset that his wife and children had to experience the war and that his children lost their childhood, Has a desire to return to Prijedor and live after his children complete their schooling, Now has a strong belief in god as before the war he did not think god existed, Sees god as the reason he survived, Struggles to understand how someone would kill people and commit crimes against friend and neighbors who had spent their whole lives together


Omarska, Trnopolje, Prijedor, Austria, Chicago [IL], United States, Concentration camp, Parent during the war, Religious identity

Pre-War Residence


Wartime Residence


First Country of Residence


First US Residence

Chicago, IL

Document Type

Oral History


Fontbonne University

Digital Format

MP3, MP4

Digital Publisher

Center for Bosnian Studies


St. Louis, MO

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