For Greta Ferusic It Was Harder to Survive Siege of Sarajevo Than Auschwitz

Tragedies such as the Holocaust, when millions of innocent people died, must be remembered more often and not only on one day, underlined the President of Bosnia’s Jewish Community Jakob Finci speaking about the Holocaust Remembrance Day and life of Jews in Bosnia.

“That’s the reality that is now behind us and that we speak and know little about”, said Finci.

Bosnian capital marked on Monday (27.01) the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and commemorated the victims of Nazi regime at the Old Jewish Cemetery and the premises of Jewish Community.

In April 1941, around 15 000 Jews lived in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including 10 500 in Sarajevo.

Nearly 2500 survived WWII, according to Finci.

“They were mostly surviving by three ways. Some of them survived fighting together with Partisans, the army which accepted them and fought for the country’s liberation. Another part survived hiding at their friends’, neighbours’, distant relatives’ places. Some survived in the camps. There was someone in each of those horrible camps who managed to survive”, he said. They all eventually returned to Sarajevo because of nostalgia, said the Jewish Community leader.

“Nostalgia is a disease of the Jews and they all came back to Sarajevo. America was too far away, Israel did not exist back then, Europe was devastated so they got back home in Sarajevo,” said Finci.

“We have a lady in Sarajevo who survived Auschwitz, Greta Ferusic. She spoke a lot about that during the siege of Sarajevo. She said in Haris Pasovic’s movie that it was harder for her to survive the siege of Sarajevo than Auschwitz”, he added.

Speaking about the failure of Bosnia’s authorities to implement the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling, which treats the rights of Jews and Roma to run for the State House of Peoples and the State Presidency, Finci said he was not surprised nothing has been done 10 years after the court ruling.

“I won’t be surprised if more time passes. If Bosnia and Herzegovina wants to be a candidate and member of the European Union, we will have to implement that decision. A country cannot be a candidate if it breaches the European Convention on Human Rights”, he underlined.

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