Hasan Hasanović

Not having found all the body parts, Hasan buried him without the skull, one foot, and one hand

After Hasan Hasanović from Srebrenica lost his brother Hajro to murder, he carried his wounded brother Hasib to free territory, but he too passed away. Hasib was buried in an atheist cemetery, and Hasan searched for his body for two and a half months. He found parts of his brother Hajro's body in two graves. Unable to find all the body parts, he buried him without the skull, one foot, and one hand.

On July 6, 1995, the attack on Srebrenica began. There wasn't a single second without falling shells. Until July 10, I hoped that we would be saved and that Srebrenica would defend itself. I headed for Potočari where I met my brothers Hajro (18) and Hasib (19), from whom I had separated earlier. I started for Šušnjari on July 11, around three in the morning, in a column with other Srebrenicans. About 18,000 people started the journey. There were attempts to organize a route towards Tuzla, Kladanj, etc. After about five kilometers of walking, we heard gunfire. We stopped in the forest and after an hour, a neighbor came to me and said that my brother Hajro had been killed. I went back and found him. He had three gunshot wounds. There were six dead with him. I threw a branch over them and continued on. We didn't have time to bury them. I thought about my brother Hasib, not knowing where he was. Along the way, we came across signs directing us. We thought we knew where we were going. In fact, we were being led to a place where they planned to liquidate us. In the Bratunac crags, in the forest, shooting began while we waited for nightfall to head towards Konjević-Polje. I often recall images, like that of young Memo, who was sitting next to me leaning against a tree, whose head was hit and split open. Then I started running non-stop and only around half-past seven in the morning did I realize I was in Kravica. There was a huge number of people by those warehouses. Leaving Kravica again, I came back to the Bratunac crags from where I had previously fled. Believe me, I couldn't step anywhere without stepping on dead bodies. Over a thousand people were killed. According to my information, over 900 bodies were found after the war. They were not buried; they were left as they were killed. From there, I came to Burnice where I found a boy in a red tracksuit who I believed knew the terrain, even though I found it strange that someone so young would know. That boy showed the way to me and later to other people. When we were parting, he told me: 'I need to pray, but I will return.' No one knows who that boy was. In Mravinjci, I came across a man who was tied to a tree with a skirt pulled over him. He had been slashed across the face. His cheeks were turned back behind his ears. His genital organ had been cut off. He was alive, surely waiting for someone to kill him and end his suffering. I went down to the nearby road, to the asphalt where I ran out in front of Serbian soldiers. They just asked me if there was anyone behind me and told me to hurry up because their shift would soon end. Running, I fell into the river Jadar. I ran into a larger group of our people, but I still hadn't found my brother Hasib. Someone was looking for volunteers to go back, and I signed up, hoping to find my brother. At Udrič, on July 12, we came across another hundred people that the boy had led out. Among them was my brother, completely barefoot. I took off my boots and wanted to give them to him, but a neighbor gave him sneakers. Before we could set off again, the grenades started falling. I remember one young man was killed, and Ćamil Babić was using a knife to dig any kind of grave to bury him. Grenades followed us as we moved. Upon descending into the area of Glodi, there was another ambush. The first in the column were decapitated. In Zvornik's Kamenica, I fell asleep. A guy approached me and slapped me. I asked him where I was. In the evening, we moved again. We had another ambush at Veljeva glava. A lot of people were killed. We reached Liplje. The grenades started falling again. From Liplje, I no longer ducked at the sound of grenades or bullets. I was waiting for my turn. I felt like we were all dead. More than half of us in that column were gone. Some survived in all that chaos and went another way towards Žepa and similar. Some were captured and ended up in camps,” recalls Hasan. On the fifth day since leaving Srebrenica, Hasan and the survivors reached Križevaćki fields. Hasan did everything to ensure his brother did not separate from him. He had no information about his mother, wife, and son. He had already lost one brother, and all he had left was his brother Hasib. By their estimates, they were a day or two's walk from Tuzla. Tuzla seemed like it was at the end of the world.

An ambush was set up at Baljkovica. The Serbian forces knew it was the route to Tuzla. They waited for the survivors in trenches, fully armed.

"The gunfire was relentless. People were constantly falling. Suddenly, out of the blue, hail started falling, disrupting the attack. At half-past three, my brother Hasib was wounded. I took him in my arms, and initially, without feeling, I placed my hand in his torn stomach. I carried him about twenty kilometers to Nezuk. I would carry him for about two hundred meters, then go back for a neighbor. There were instances where fathers told their sons to go on, to leave them and save themselves. I didn't want to leave my brother, and his was the only body that was carried to free territory. I thought it would be easier if I could get him to free territory, even if he was dead. Refik, Sejad, and Vekaz Šahmanović helped me carry him. I was wounded along with my brother. That was my third injury."

Hasib lived for another nine and a half hours after Hasan brought him to Nezuk. He passed away around noon. Before dying, he asked for water, but Hasan, following the doctor's advice, refused. Even today, he wonders if he made a mistake. After his brother's death, Hasan was only concerned about what to tell their mother, how to inform her that both her sons had died. However, the situation became even more difficult when Hasan was separated from Hasib's dead body. He couldn't tell his mother where the body was located.

"I met my family at the airport. I immediately told my mother about the brothers' deaths. I searched for Hasib's body for two and a half months. I found it in an atheistic cemetery thanks to Dr. Zdenko Cihlarz. The gravestone read: Srebrenica N.N. 2. He was buried about twenty centimeters deep. I transferred him to a Muslim cemetery. The doctor gave me his findings that he had 72 gunshot wounds and 9 through-and-through shots," Hasan recalls.

Parts of his brother Hajro's body were found in two different graves at Snagovo. Not having found all the body parts, Hasan buried him without the skull, one foot, and one hand.

"Thank God, today I know where they are, and I can visit their graves." Twenty years after Srebrenica, Hasan has collected the bones of about 37 members of his immediate family, including babies. His uncle's wife was killed with a single bullet while holding a child in her arms, breastfeeding the baby. When they found them, rats had already been eating the baby."


  1. Islamic Informative Newspaper "Preporod"

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