The forgotten children of Sarajevo

Air Date
3sat | 28th of September 2016 | 9.oo p.m.
Director: Maryam Bonakdar


They were children when the war broke out in 1992 in their hometown of Sarajevo. At first everyone assumed that the fighting would last only three or four days – it went on for four years. The besieged city of Sarajevo became a potent symbol of the Bosnian war. To the children in the city this meant growing up under persistent grenade strikes, attending makeshift schools in bomb shelters, constant anxiety and daily news of relatives and friends falling victim to the violence.

Today these children of the war are young adults. Only two hours from Berlin, a traumatized generation has grown up that believes to have been forgotten. Both by Europe and their own country. Bosnia continues to struggle with rebuilding the nation in the nearly two decades since the war ended. While Germany benefited from a massive economic boom that helped redefine the nation after World War 2 – Bosnia has failed to experience the same growth. Its difficulties in redeveloping the nation has been driven by rampant of corruption and systemic mismanagement.

The numbers speak for themselves: 63 percent of young Bosnians are out of work. The stories of Adi, Selma, Irfan, Gordan and Mirza, in their late twenties and early thirties, speak for many of the children who grew up under the specter of the Bosnian War. They give a portrait of a generation that often represses its bloody past and simultaneously is desperately looking for a future.

Voice-Over Artist: Peter Becker and others

Photo © 3sat