The destroyed interior of the Bosnian National Library
where thousands of priceless books and documents burned after Bosnian
Serb gunners fired incendiary shells at the building in 1992, photographed
here during the final days of the division of the city, Sarajevo,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 1996.
NATIONAL LIBRARY BURNS
I went out in the courtyard, which was partially paved in concrete,
because there is a garage, and everything is kind of gray. Behind
it is some greenery, and then on the concrete I saw big black pieces
of burned paper. And then it was awful. I realized at one moment that
the National Library was on fire? These papers were great big pieces
of paper, and on these big burned pieces of paper you could make out
some of the writing. There must have been really high temperatures.
It was terrible. When I went into the house I told everyone. We all
were very attached to the National Library building, because it was
located on one of the main thoroughfares, and wherever you went in
Sarajevo, you had to pass the National Library. By that beautiful
wonderful building which was truly a symbol, a symbol of the city.
I did feel sorry about that building, but I also thought we were finished.
Yeah, because at that point we were afraid - we did feel sorry about
our city - but we were more afraid for our lives. We were thinking,
"this is it, this is the end, its coming closer, it'll be here
Excerpt From: Sarajevo survivor testimonies from
OPSADA (The Siege) by FAMA International