Alipasin Most WW2 Refugee camp

During the Second World War,  Bosniaks from Eastern Bosnia fled towards Sarajevo  due to the genocide committed there by the Yugoslav Royalist Nazi- collaborationist army known popularly as the “Chetniks“(led by Draza Mihajlovic). Most of these Bosniak refugees or muhadziri as they were called in Bosnian, were located in Alipasin Most in Sarajevo. Some later moved to other towns such as Visoko, some as far as Bosanski Brod.  Those who choose to stay suffered  due to hunger,diseases,  lack of medicine and finally Allied bombardment in 1944. Among these refugees were many from Visegrad, who later moved to Visoko. Many stayed to live in Visoko.

Alipasin Most was bombed during Operation Ratweek (Nedjelja Pacova) in September 1944 in which major cities in the Balkans were bombarded including Split and Belgrade. It was a joint Allied – Partizan operation aimed at paralyzing the communication system in the Balkans so as to stop the retreating Nazi army from Greece. The Allies were aiming to bomb the railway station which is right next to the Alipasin Most refugee camp. Unfortunately, they bombarded the camp too. Ustasa propaganda jumped in and used this fact against the Allied forces and Partizans.

Two years ago, while preparing ground for a new building in Otoka, Sarajevo, workers came across human bones. It was later established that these were the remains of refugees who were killed in the Allied bombardment of Alipasin Most.

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Image: Aerial  picture of Alipasin Most bombardment 1944. Source unknown.

Video: Ustasa propaganda video, images of Alipasin Most can be seen after 1.35 min.

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Image: Isak Samokovlija, Bosnian Jewish doctor who helped and treated Bosniak refugees from Eastern Bosnia.

Popular Bosnian Jewish writer/doctor Isak Samokovlija, was transferred by the Ustasa (the Croat fascists) to Alipasin Most. Isak was born in Gorazde. He, like others, loved the Drina river. He shared the fate of the Bosniak refugees whom he treated in the camp as a doctor. Fortunately he survived the war and Holocaust.

I was born in Goražde (he writes in the autobiographical piece ‘Sun over the Drina,’ dating from 1947), in that small town in eastern Bosnia through which the magnificent and hot-tempered Drina flows. I spent almost my entire childhood on that river. The Drina is one of my most profound experiences. It enthralled me like some god-like, living creature. Its clear, magical, green coloration, full of sunshine, which poured into my soul every summer without fail in those years, filled me with a lifetime of serenity, purity, and wondrous power…I fell in love with the Drina. It was that same well-nigh incomprehensible love with which Klindžo, the hero of my story ‘Drina,’ loved it.

His Drina “fell sick” because of crimes on the river, spoiling all of his childhood memories and poisoning his life. As soon as the Ustaše came, they put Samokovlija in prison and then transferred him to a refugee camp that was located in Alipašin Most, near Sarajevo. He worked there as a doctor, torn away from his children. And, as a Jew, he lived in constant fear of the Ustaše.

Meša Selimović, Sjećanja: Memoarska proza. Beograd: Book-Marso, 2002, pp. 201-4., Duh Bosne, issue: Vol.2,No 4 / 2007 — ISAK SAMOKOVLIJA, Translated by John K. Cox © 2007 John K. Cox,

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