Survivor of the Bosnian Genocide to Speak at Gardner-Webb University

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Presentation on Oct. 5; “Príjedor” Exhibit on Display Oct. 3-25

bosnian genocideBOILING SPRINGS, N.C.— A survivor of the early 1990s Bosnian genocide will share his chilling story in a special presentation at Gardner-Webb University on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. in Blanton Auditorium, located inside Hamrick Hall.  The presentation accompanies a larger testimonial exhibit called “Príjedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide,” on display at Gardner-Webb’s Dover Memorial Library from Oct. 3-25.  All events are free and open to the public.

From 1992 until 1995, thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Croats in the region of Príjedor suffered theft, displacement, rape and brutal death at the hands of Serbian ultra-nationalists looking to claim the region for a secessionist Serbian state.

The “Príjedor” exhibit features various first-hand stories from the genocide, including survivor interviews and mementos from those who were lost.  Accompanying the exhibit at the Library, a “Príjedor” film will run on a continuous loop until Oct. 25, and an East European and Balkans book display will also be available.

During the Bosnian conflict, Amir Karadzic, a business and real estate investor in Príjedor, was faced with the loss of property and employment.  He and his family endured repeated death threats.  “For three years I lived in what seemed to be a coma, a time during which my thoughts could not be heard and actions were rendered useless,” Karadzic said.

In 1994, Amir was forced to flee Bosnia and, for months, remained separated from his wife and son.  The Karadzics ultimately escaped to the United States in 1995, where Karadzic began work as a laborer in a cheese factory.  Today, Karadzic is a counselor for a mental health provider in St. Louis, and the head of the non-profit organization Union of Citizens of the Municipality of Príjedor.  He was the driving force behind the development of the “Príjedor” exhibit, which has been displayed in St. Louis, Chicago, and at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Michael Kuchinsky, GWU political science professor and coordinator of the events, said the exhibit is especially timely in the wake of the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

“When it comes to these genocides and holocausts and large-scale human atrocities, we often use the words ‘never forget,’” he said.  “And we say that on purpose because in order to heal from these horrific crimes against humanity, in order to transcend or move on, one has to look at these things clearly and face-to-face.”

Kuchinsky said the exhibit remains very “respectful of both the living and the dead,” and that while it is filled with emotion, “it is also filled with good, quality research.  This is a political story. It’s a historical story.  It’s a religious story.  It’s one that our students, and our community, will learn from.”

A reception will follow Karadzic’s Oct. 5 presentation.  For more information, contact Matt Walters at 704-406-2237 or at mbwalters@gardner-webb.edu.