Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Four People Managed to Escape Throught the Window

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Four People Managed to Escape Throught the Window

Article excerpt

HIGH in the mountains, in a quiet village nine miles from Travnik, are a few remnants of a family from the town of Visegrad, in eastern Bosnia. They are staying in the home of a family they have never met before, just one of thousands of families living in strangers' homes.

I was led there by a 10-year-old boy from a nearby town who spoke a little English. The boy told me that I should talk with this family of refugees, because there is a survivor of a massacre there.

The family invites me into their one room. The atmosphere is brittle, as if the world is made of eggshells. The first thing they do is make coffee for everyone. It seems that if Bosnian Muslims have absolutely nothing, they will always manage to make coffee for guests.

The family consists of a woman, her child, and her parents.

In the spring of last year, the woman says, Visegrad had been taken over by Serbs. On the morning of June 13, she talked with a good friend of hers who is Serbian. The friend told her that she should get out of town as fast as possible, and try to go to another village that was safer.

When she returned home from visiting her friend, it was already too late. The Serbs were rounding up the men and taking them away. Young women were being taken to "rape hotels" for the soldiers.

The people who remained were told to leave at gunpoint. From her neighborhood, there was a group of 64 old men, women, and children. One baby girl was only two days old. They got as far as the Drina River, still in the city of Visegrad. They were stopped on the bridge that leads out of town.

There they were searched for money, jewelry, and anything else of value, and it was stolen from them. They stood on the bridge for two hours. During that time, the woman saw about 10 bodies either floating in the river or lying along its banks.

The five soldiers holding them on the bridge were all familiar to her. She had grown up with some of them and knew some of their families.

The 64 Muslims were led into a house and forced into one room. The soldiers made them take off their clothes, and their clothes were taken away.

The people waited in the room for a short time, and then the door was opened and someone threw in a bomb. …

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