Archive for Himzo Demir

In Memoriam: Himzo Demir

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2009 by visegrad92

Himzo Demir, head-teacher of Višegrad High School.

Himzo Demir, head-teacher of Višegrad High School.

Himzo Demir was the head-teacher of Višegrad High School in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and had formerly been a chemistry teacher.He was 54 years old, and married with two sons. At the beginning of the war, the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) took control of Višegrad, and began the large-scale persecution of the town’s Bosniac [Bosnian Muslim] population. Himzo Demir was summarily sacked from his job, as were many other Bosniacs who held influential positions in the local community. Mr Demir had also served as the headof the local government as a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

At approximately 4pm on 28 May 1992 Himzo Demir was at home with his wife Sadija and one of his sons when five cars surrounded the house, and six or seven people wearing camouflage uniforms came to the door. Mrs Demir believes that these men were members of the “White Eagles”, a paramilitary group operating in eastern Bosnia, but mainly originating from Serbia. They said that they wanted to take Himzo Demir and his son for questioning. The couple’s eldest son was in Sarajevo at the time, but their younger 15-year-old son was with them. Mrs Demir begged the men not to take her son away, and they did not take him.

One member of the group – who was known to the family as one of Mr Demir’s former pupils – patted Himzo Demir on the shoulder, saying “You were the best school principal”. Others in the group spoke with accents which suggested to Mrs Demir that they came from what is now the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). These men also searched the house for valuables and stole some jewellery that they found. Himzo Demir was driven away in a red “Lada” car and has not been seen since.

Five days after he was taken away, the deputy head of the school where Himzo Demir used to work asked Mrs Demir to provide him with the school’s official stamp. Mrs Demir believes that this stamp was needed to stamp certificates for students leaving at the end of that school year. Although Himzo Demir had been sacked, he was officially still the head of the school and would have been required to sign the certificates. She believes that her husband was still alive at this time, but believes that he was killed a few days later.

Mrs Demir asked the local police to help her find her husband, but received no information about the whereabouts of her husband. On 31 May she, and her son, fled from Višegrad and – after a period in hiding – eventually made their way to Goražde which was then controlled by the Bosnian Government, and where they still live.

Editor’s Note:Text taken from Amnesty International; Bosnia-Herzegovina: The “disappeared”: Himzo Demir – head-teacher: “disappeared from Visegrad

Eliticide in Visegrad

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2009 by visegrad92
Yugoslav People's Army soldiers aiming anti-aircraft guns  at Visegrad. April 1992.

Yugoslav People's Army soldiers aiming anti-aircraft guns at Visegrad. April 1992.

* Eliticide/Elitocide – the systematic killing of a community’s political and economic leadership so that the community could not regenerate.

One of the priorities of the Yugoslav People’s Army(JNA)/Army of Republika Srpska(VRS) was to make the Bosniak people confused and headless. In this way they were able to control and manipulate with the Bosniak  population. In order to do this, throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, educated Bosniaks, political and religious leaders were arrested, jailed or murdered.

This was the case in Visegrad. After the Yugoslav People’s Army occupied Visegrad, the Serb Crisis Committee (“krizni stab” led by fascist Serb Democratic Party) took control of the municipality. Leading Bosniak intellectuals, political leaders and activists, members of the Islamic Religious Community (Islamska Vjerska Zajednica), Police officers were expelled from work, arrested, jailed, called for “informative talks”, or kept under house arrest.  Serb Police officials gave Serb paramilitary groups lists of Bosniaks who possessed firearms, who then went individually man to man and asked them to turn in their firearms.

Yugoslav People's Army soldiers at the Mehmed-pasa Sokolovic Bridge which was later used as an excecution site by Serb paramilitaries.

Yugoslav People's Army soldiers at the Mehmed-pasa Sokolovic Bridge which was later used as an excecution site by Bosnian Serb Army units.

After the Yugoslav People’s Army supposedly “left” Visegrad (like in the rest of B&H, the soldiers just replaced the emblems from JNA TO VRS), Bosniak intellectuals, political, economic and religious leaders were taken away and murdered by paramilitary groups “White Eagles”,various Chetnik groups, the “Avengers” and others, all of which were under the control of VRS. This is the same pattern used in other Bosnian towns.

Here are some examples of eliticide in Visegrad(click on the names for more information):

1. Safet Zejnilovic – Doctor

2. Fejzo Šabanija – Secretary at Party of Democratic Action (Bosniak political party)

3. Zihnija Omerovic – leading member of the Territorial Defense

4. Himzo Demir – Chemistry teacher, well- known Principal of Secondary School “Hamid Besirovic”.

5. Salko Suceska – Engineer

6. Halil Ahmedspahic – Engineer

7. Behija Zukic – well-known  owner of several businesses. Milan Lukic murdered Behija and her husband, stole her red Passat and drove it over the next couple of years.

8. Tufo Tankovic – Principal of “Hasan Veletovac” School. This School would soon become a concentration camp.

9. Safet Efendija Karaman – Imam (Muslim religious priest) at a mosque in Visegrad.

10. Sadik Isic Beli – Mechanical engineer, worked in “Terpentina” factory.

* Updated 12.8.09