Višegrad Genocide Memories – photo exhibition of Velija Hasanbegović

March 23, 2011 - 17:30 - May 6, 2011 - 20:30
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Exhibition Hall
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Center for Arts and Culture (CAC)
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Višegrad Genocide Memories – photo exhibition of Velija Hasanbegović

Opening speech: Velija Hasanbegović photographer

The photos and storyline were made by Velija Hasanbegovic, a survivor of the Visegrad genocide, who was 16 years old when he escaped from the execution at the Visegrad Bridge. His previous photo collection got the award for best collection at the Exhibition of the Association for Art Photography BiH „Zenica 2010”. This exhibition about Visegrad will be exhibited for the first time at CEU.

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. 

At the same time, across the river were three Bosnian Army snipers. They were on a watch out for executions since they heared testimonies from survivors that civilians were being executed at the river banks. 

As the Hasanbegovics 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. The Hasanbegovics swam across and managed to escape to safe territory. 

Two of the executors were known to the victims: Nebojša Kovač (the Hasanbegovics friend and neighbour), Momir Savić(who was sentenced by the BH Court for crimes committed in Višegrad – but not for the attempted murder of the Hasanbegovics – he managed to escape and is currently hiding in Serbia) and a third unknown man." 

The exhibition can be visited until May 6, 2011.