Hasan Hasanović

March of Death survivor

March of Death survivor Hasan Hasanović
(Photo credit: Kristian Skeie)

“We were amidst thousands and thousands of men. As far as my eyes could see, there were men walking – from teenagers, to old withered men. We were all supposed to gather on Buljim Hill, approximately six miles from Srebrenica, and set off from there. We were headed to Tuzla, the nearest Muslim territory. On foot, Tuzla is just over 63 miles from Srebrenica, and you have to pass lots of uneven terrain, mountains, rivers, even minefields. It wasn’t going to be an easy journey, but we had no other option. We wanted to live.

We all gathered on the hill, and began assembling into a column. My uncle, who was with us, said it was best to remain in the middle of The Column. I was only 19 at the time, so I didn’t argue with his decision. As we continued to assemble in line, I heard an onslaught of gunfire. The key hill positions were under the control of the Serb military, so they had a good view of us all lining up. They didn’t care that we were unarmed.

Their primary concern was that we were Muslim, and they wanted us dead. In the commotion of the gunfire, people in the column started to push forward in a panic, desperate for shelter from the bullets. Bodies fell to the ground behind us, but no one knew exactly what was happening. The gunfire was relentless, and it felt like it was coming from every angle.

I could think of nothing but pushing forward. Forward was freedom; forward was survival, forward was everything. I pushed forward with all my might, until finally from the sea of men ahead, I saw woodland. I realised at that moment that I had lost my family. Husein, my father, and my uncle. As much as I wanted to stop and look for them, I knew if I did, I would be killed. I told myself if I wanted to live, I would have to run and not look back.

So, I ran. I ran with countless others into the woods. If we turned back, we would have to go to Potočari, and we were sure the UN would give us up to the Serb army. They had already given up Srebrenica, and by doing so, sacrificed our lives.”

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"We were amidst thousands and thousands of men. As far as my eyes could see, there were men walking – from teenagers, to old withered men."

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