euronews journalist Laurence Alexandrowicz interviewed Meliha Bosnjak in Lyon.
Meliha Bosnjak: “It was the 11 July. It had been a very emotional day. I was just ten. I didn’t know what was going on. My mother just kept us close to her and said don’t look too much. Up till then Srebrenica had been a protected zone, and we had come to Srebrenica for our safety, to be protected. My father stayed there, and my mother took me and my sisters and brother to Tuzla, another free city. The Serbs did that — separated the women from the men.
My mother gave my little brother to my sister to carry to the bus. She held on to him all the time in the bus, so the Serbs would think he was her son. She was quite grown-up-looking, she was a young woman, and my mother was afraid because we had already heard that girls were being taken aside to be raped.
My father stayed and we left. Like all the other men, they left quickly — not even 15 minutes to say goodbye, to talk. I remember he said to my mother: take good care of my children, be calm; whatever you do don’t cry, don’t show your emotions; we’ll see each other in Tuzla.’ And he took the path leading into the forest, like almost 10,000 other men. Now we see the pictures of the ten thousand dead, all through the forests of eastern Bosnia.
We actually heard a lot of stories. The last we heard was that my father had been injured in his right leg and couldn’t walk and so stayed in the forest. Afterwards we also heard he had been so tired that he said he was going to the Serbs. There were also Serbs who called him in the forest. They said, ‘come with us, we won’t do anything, we’re just going to exchange you for Serbs held prisoner by the Bosnians.’ Perhaps my father believed that, and he went. We don’t know which story to believe. But we know my father is dead, and that up till now his body hasn’t been found. I’d like to find my father, to know where he’s buried, so I can go to pray for him.”