1. Banja Luka
The “Ivan Goran Kovacic” school is both a primary school and a collective centre for displaced persons. The shared housing affects the lives and habits of both, and the children, deprived of a gym, do not show much consideration for the difficulties of a refugee life.
2. Bugojno (village of Dervetine)
Mara Vejic is from Bugojno. Currently she lives in Tomislavgrad in an apartment for which she pays 300 DEM rent. Mara has repossessed her property but her children do not want to return to Bugojno, and she has agreed with some displaced Bosniaks in Bugojno that they could use her house rent-free. Her house has therefore become “alternative accommodation” for families with no accommodation.
Ismet Doric and Milos Varesic live in Rudo. From Sarajevo, Ismet returned to Dorice in Rudo, where, regardless of the difficult living conditions, he feels most at home. He says that he would not stay in Sarajevo even “for the whole of that city”.
Milos Varesic, displaced from Sarajevo to Rudo, has the same the same opinion about Sarajevo as Ismet does about Rudo, and would return “today rather than tomorrow”.
After several years in exile, Ruzica returned to Tuzla only to face problems relating to the continuation of her education, as she had not received a certificate that she had finished the 5th grade of the school after leaving Tuzla. In addition to this, Ruzica has faced the problem of the possible eviction of her family from the apartment where they are living.
Hajvaz Seval and Dzemila, parents of triplets from Gorazde, one of whom died just seven days after birth, are still fighting a very difficult battle: they have to vacate the apartment in which they currently reside but they cannot return to their destroyed house in Cajnice. What will happen to them and how will they go on? But since hope is the last thing to die, the two of them, in spite of huge difficulties, are looking forward to a better future.
6. Rogatica (village of Kukavice)
Ramo Makes lives in Ilidza and is visiting Kukavice, where the ruins of his home lie, for the first time in eight years. Mladen Elez, owner of the house in which Ramo is living with his family now, lives in another man’s apartment in Srpska Ilidza.
Both Ramiz and Mladen have been served eviction notices…
Lisnja is a village near Prnjavor, which is occupied by displaced Serbs and to which Bosniaks are returning. This is a story of three young girls Arnela, Dragana and Nada, and their friendship in spite of the past and their different ethnicities speaks about coexistence in this small village.
8. Sarajevo (Dobrinja)
“People went to different places all over the world and they managed to return to their property, and we, who stayed behind in Sarajevo through this whole period cannot return to our property.”
What is the next destination of Sabina Sisic from Sarajevo, who, after eight years cannot return to her home? It is destroyed, there are no funds for its reconstruction and Sabina, with her husband and two children, is awaiting a new eviction.
It is difficult, almost impossible to talk about the plans of this young educated woman. And while you are watching this story it is possible that Sabina will no longer reside at the same address.
Trebinje was for a long time a “black hole” on the map of return in BiH. A story about the citizens of Trebinje who were the first ones to return to their town.
“Love is more important than water, electricity, than everything.” This is the joint message of Ivan and Mirela Zeba, a young married couple and returnees to Brod municipality. And while Mirela is doing housework her husband Ivan works as a police officer in Republika Srpska.
Together they are trying to start a new life on the ruins of the old one.
11. Bjelave- Tjentiste
Brother and sister Kasim and Sanela are orphans and live in children’s home Ljubica Ivezic in Sarajevo. The are visiting, for the first time in eight years, their property and what remains of their house at Tjentiste, in eastern Republika Srpska. They are not absolutely positive that they want to return or what will happen to them, because they can stay in the children’s home until they are of school leaving age. Kasim is 14 and Sanela 17.
The ghostly and utterly destroyed Santic Street still divides Mostar. If it would be reconstructed people of all nations would return to Santic Street and instead to separate two sides of Mostar it would put them together. However, forces that have the interest to keep the circumstances unchanged do not do anything at all for former occupants of Santic Street, who, despite numerous unrealised promises, still hope for a brighter future and that they would return to their homes.
The photograph of a mother from Kozara, in a mass of refugees, with two small children and little pack, taken on a cold and uncertain winter in 1942 was published around the world. Today, after so many decades Branko Tepic, the boy from the photograph, has assumed the role of his mother.
Thinking aloud, Branko asks himself: why does history repeat itself and why is that at least one generation on “ the mountainous Balkans” cannot live a decent life.
14. Novi – Bihac
Pero and Enisa exchanged their houses. Reasons to do so were of a different nature. Neither Pero nor Enisa are entirely certain whether this decision was correct or not. And while Pero is preparing to move in, Enisa is not able to enter “Pero’s” house because displaced persons occupy it.
Fatima Suljevic is again in Rogatica after eight years – at her doorstep. Fatima and the current occupants of her house Milka, Mladenka and Mladen come to terms very quickly.
The understanding of their situation and wish that the best solution should be found for everyone are mutual.
16. S.Kupres/Kupres (village of Novo Selo)
The primary school building was reconstructed in Novo Selo near Kupres. The teacher hopes that she will have more students in the next couple of years – currently there are five.
A significant number of pre-war residents have returned to the village but out of fifty young people – only three are girls. What is the opinion of young men about that and what do they think of their future in this region.
17. Banja Luka
During the war the municipal authorities of Banja Luka ordered Sefka Slipac to leave the apartment over which she had occupancy right. The same apartment was then allocated to Milan Pejic and his wife Rada Vjestica. The couple had triplets in the meantime. After 6 years Mrs. Slipac regained the possession of the apartment and the family Pejic-Vjestica was evicted.
Dragan Zovko, a citizen of Mostar, waiter by profession, left his house in Bijelo Polje and went to the west part of Mostar. Now he wants to return, but a Bosniak family from Gacko occupies his house. Due to their difficult situation Dragan has not insisted on their eviction. On the contrary, he has insisted that the family remain in the house pending an adequate solution for them.
When Milan Prodanovic exchanged his house in Ilidza for a house in Foca, he could not have imagined all the problems that he would encounter. The municipal authorities in Foca allocated a part of Milan’s house to a displaced family as alternative accommodation. Milan has been requesting the municipal authorities, for a long time, to “vacate” his house or to pay him rent since he has no means of living.
But it is not that easy…
Life on the inter-entity boundary line.
Lazo Tomic works in Mrkonjic Grad, his children go to school there. Although their telephone line and electricity supply runs from the RS, since 1997 Lazo has been living in the village of Prisoje, in the Federation’s Jajce Municipality.
The Tomic family’s best friends are their neighbors, the Cosic family. The Cosic family live in a house only 500 meters away from the Tomic’s, but their house is in Republika Srpska.
Mensur Dervic returned with his mother from Orasje to Samac. Mensur is a typical representative of a young generation who suffered the greatest loss during the war. In addition to the fact that he lost his dreams and hope in a better future, Mensur is 60 percent disabled.
Residents of the refugee settlement in Visegrad are Serbs from Central Bosnia. Their wish was to start a new life in Graci- settlement that, for years now, is being built for them. But, time is passing by, people are leaving to look for their fortune overseas, some of them have passed away, and some would like to return to their pre-war houses. What will prevail: the wish to return or stay?
Many of those who wished to return to Kozarac did not live to see that wish fulfilled. Death prevented that but their last wish- to be buried in Kozarac is fulfilled by their loved ones.
Senad returned to Kozarac and he earns his living by digging graves. He refused a chance to move to America – Senad’s America is in Kozarac.
24. Sarajevo (Vogosca)
Petar and Vlado left Vogosca after the reintegration of Sarajevo. They return five years later. Petar is in the process of repossessing his apartment, Vlado has already been reinstated.
Both have decided to stay at the place where they spend most of their lives
25. Jegin Lug
Stevan Tomic left in 1992 Jegin Lug and took up the residence in Kozluk. Stevan wishes to return to his place of birth but he is not in the position to do so for two reasons. After the war the municipal authorities built in Jegin Lug apartment blocks for displaced persons from Srebrenica and therefore indigenous Serbs do not want to return.
During a visit to Jegin Lug Stevan spoke with displaced person from Srebrenica and he finds that their presence is not a problem for his return, however the destroyed home indeed is.
Dragan Gavrilovic left Sarajevo at the beginning of the war. After a few years abroad he returned to his city and apartment. He commutes each day between Sarajevo and Pale.
27. Banja Luka
After a couple of year they spent as refugees in Germany, the Gunic family returned to Banja Luka. They did not return to their house, but a house only 5-6 meters away.
Milko Vranes, a refugee from Travnik, lives in their house. Milko does not want to move out until adequate accommodation is found for him, whereas the Gunic family has been issued a court decision for repossession of property.
Barbara Ilic returned to Kakanj and lived with her neighbor Ida initially. After a long and painful procedure, she managed to repossess her apartment. Barbara also succeeded in returning all of the things that were taken from her apartment.
Djordje Ostojic, called Mico, is a returnee to Kovacica, a village that was completely devastated during the war. At the beginning Mico slept at a tractor-trailer, and then Vlajo and Saban, friends who live in a neighboring village, helped him to get “a shelter”.
30. JanjaGalib Alihodzic returned to his native Janja and found the family of Mladenka Vujic from Visoko in his house. Galib and Mladenka were able to agree quickly on how to live under the same roof until the Vujic family manages to find something else.