“Visegrad Genocide Memories” A photo photo exhibition by Velija Hasanbegovic

In 2011 CEU ( Central European University ) was host to an photo exhibition by Bosnian photographer Velija Hasanbegovic. Hasanbegovic,  originally from the town of Visegrad,  is  a survivor of the Bosnian genocide. When he was sixteen he and his brother survived an execution on the banks of the river Drina. According to Hasanbegovic what saved him and his brother´s life that day was the fact that Bosnian defenders, having previously heard testimony from survivors that civilians were being executed at the river banks posted snipers along the river banks. As Velija and his brother came towards the water, one of the Bosnian snipers took a shot at one of the executors. The others shouted to them to jump into the river and swim across. One executor was wounded while the other two ran away. Two brothers managed to jump into the river and swim across to safety.

Velija Hasanbegovic testimony:

Višegrad was occupied by the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army (JNA) in April 1992. A Serb government was imposed by the JNA which started terrorizing the Bosnian Muslim population. In May 1992, the Hasanbegovic family was put under house arrest by the Bosnian Serb authorities. Velija’s father, Zejnil, was a influentional figure in the Višegrad Municipality. Bosnian Muslims were massacred and deported throughout Višegrad. On 17 June, around a dozen Bosnian Serb soldiers surrounded the Hasanbegovic house in the town center and arrested Velija, his brother Samir and his father Zejnil. They were brought to old spa called Visegradska Banja, which is located several kilometers from the town center. After being interrograted for about an hour, the Hasanbegovics were told that they would be exchanged for Bosnian Serbs. They traveled by car towards the town and stopped in Sase village where they were told to get out of the car. The three Bosnian Serb soldiers forced the Hasanbegovics to walk towards the Drina River bank. At this moment they realised that there is no prisoner exchange and that they would be executed.

Full article can be found here, on CEU´s website.

Most of the people killed in Visegrad were later thrown into the Drina River. The most notorious execution site was the old bridge, in the very center of Visegrad. Bosniak civilians, men women children were brought there by trucks or cars and shot or stabbed to death, then dumped into the river. During the summer and fall of 2010 authorities in Visegrad agreed to keep Perucac lakebed dry for seventy four days, allowing volunteers and investigators to unearth whatever remains they could find. By September 2010 over 250 bodies were found. One of those who volunteered was Velija Hasanbegovic, the result of that became the photo exhibition; Visegrad Genocide Memories.

Please follow these two links to some of the photographs Link 1 Link 2

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