Sanela Ramic Jurich
“”Sjeti Me Se”, Johnny’s last words to Selma, is a novel that should be widely read and remembered. Unforgettable!” –Readers Favorite
Remember Me was written for all those who died in Bosnia for no other reason than the fact that they were not Serbs.
Although all of the characters in this book are fictionate, they were all inspired by someone I knew and loved who was killed in Prijedor in 1992. The story was inspired by my own experiences.
I had to bring some people back to life and so I wrote a book about them. Let me tell you a little bit about a few of them and who they were to me:
Ešef Ejupović was my uncle from Hambarine (Prijedor). He was visiting his daughter in Biscani (a few minutes away from home in Hambarine) when the Serb Army showed up to do the ethnic cleansing. They forced Esef, his son-in-law, his son-in-law’s father and many other neighbors out of their homes where they executed them. Women and children were forced to stay inside.
When Esef was shot, he was still alive. All night long, women and children were able to hear his moans and cries for help. Serb soldiers were laughing at and verbally abusing him.
The next day, women and children were transferred to a concentration camp and the bodies of those dead were transported elsewhere. Esef was never heard from again.
In October 2013, one of the largest mass graves from the Bosnian War was discovered by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Tomasica by Prijedor and according to witnesses contain upwards of 1,000 Bosniak and Croat victims killed by Serb forces.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) gathered evidence from the area for possible use in prosecutions. Thus far 16 Bosnian Serbs have been sentenced by the ICTY to a sum of 230 years for war crimes committed in Prijedor. On 25 November 2013, Theodor Meron, president of the ICTY, visited the site and stated he was “face to face with horror”.
Esef’s body has not yet been recovered, however, his son-in-law’s body was found in Tomasica mass grave and identified. His wedding band, which had a name of his wife, Sabina, engraved in it, was still on his finger when they found him. The DNA later proved that it was, in fact, him. His father was also found in Tomasica.
Ziska Ejupović was my aunt. When the Serb-soldiers showed up at her door, they demanded money and jewlery. After she gave them everything she had, they shot her. She left behind a husband and three children.
Velid Ališković was my cousin. He was in his early twenties. I am not exactly sure how he died; only that he was taken away from home by the Serb army. His mother died shortly after and his father, brother, sisters, nieces, and nephews are constantly talking about and missing him. His body was also recovered from Tomasica mass grave in 2013.
Mirzet Arnautović lived in Puharska (Prijedor). He was in his early twenties and married to my cousin, Lela. Their baby boy was just an infant when the Serb-army showed up at their door step and killed Mirzet, his father, along with their neighbor – men and boys. Lela and their baby were taken to a concentration camp. Lela was my inspiration for the character of Helena.
Agan Kadirić was my uncle in his early twenties. He had the biggest heart of anyone I ever met. He married the love of his life (whom he was courting for many years). They had a beautiful baby boy who was a few months old the last time his daddy held him. The Serb army showed up and ordered Agan, his brother, Dado (who was also in his twenties) and their father to go outside. When they did, they were shot to death. Agan left behind a mother (who lost two sons and a husband in one day), a wife, and a son. Their bodies were discovered in Tomasica mass grave in 2013 and put to rest in 2014.
Samir Kadirić was Agan’s cousin, also in his early twenties. We all called him Peka as a joke. Peka means something like ‘one who is conceded’, which he was not at all. He was kind, friendly, and always soft spoken. He had the greenest eyes. Peka didn’t have a chance to experience marriage or the joy of having children. He was killed the same way Agan was and on the same day. His body was discovered in Tomasica mass grave in 2013.
Admir Kadirić was Agan’s cousin and a dear friend of mine. He was attending college in Sarajevo at the time, but because of all the talks of war, he returned home to be with his family. He couldn’t have known that what awaited him at home was either concentration camp or death. He was killed by the Serb army the same day and in the same way as Agan and Peka.
Although there are a lot of other names of family and friends that were murdered I could mention, (my mohter’s uncles and their sons, my mother’s cousin, Sada, etc.) I will stop here. May they all rest in peace.
From the Amazon reviews of Remember Me:
To purchase a signed copy, click on a “buy now” button. With each paperback purchase, you will receive free shipping nationwide.