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Bosnian genocide exhibit travels to Denver

By Rachel Hanson

September 13, 2008

During the last two decades, thousands of Bosnian refugees and immigrants have made their way to St. Louis, bringing their harrowing testimonies of the Bosnian War and genocide along with them.

Some of their stories have now made it all the way to Denver as part of the exhibit, “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide,” a collaborative effort by associate professors Ben Moore and Jack Luzkow and their students in the honors course, “The Bosnian Immigration: Narrative, Memory and Identity.”

Jasmina Redzic, a Bosnian Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado in Denver, was moved by the multimedia exhibit when she saw it here in St. Louis, and she arranged to bring the project to her city. The 32-panel exhibit includes pictures of the genocide that occurred in Prijedor during the Bosnian War from 1992-1995, transcripts of taped survivor interviews conducted by the class as well as analysis and historical context.

Traveling to Denver for the opening night of the exhibit, Moore delivered a speech honoring both the survivors of the genocide and those who helped to memorialize their stories through the project.

“This exhibit is more than a powerful assemblage of meaningful text and images,” he said. “It is also an event that will continue to draw in new people and foster new understanding…the event is about the strengthening of two other multiethnic communities – St. Louis and Denver.”

While in Denver, Moore also had the opportunity to meet Redzic’s family, who hosted a festive gathering featuring Bosnian cuisine and music. Moore says he was happy to be surrounded by such friendly people who supported the work that he was conducting with help from the St. Louis Bosnian community.

After the trip, Moore took the video recording component of “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide” to the University of North Alabama. Sometime next spring, he hopes to bring the exhibit, which was first displayed in the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, to a museum or university in Washington D.C.

Future expansion of the exhibit will likely feature book transcriptions, new courses and events centered on Bosnia.

The goal of the project, Moore says, is to create “an enduring record of the survivors of genocide in Prijedor,” a place he holds very close to his heart.

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