Museum of crimes against humanity and genocide
A relatively new addition to the dark portfolio of Sarajevo
in Bosnia & Herzegovina
: a museum specifically concentrating on the very darkest aspects of the Balkan wars in Bosnia in 1992-1995.
This new museum was opened in July 2016 and is the work of a group of survivors/victims as well as young researchers of the war crimes committed during the war in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995/96. It started out as mainly a collection of photos, but since then lots of original artefacts have been added to the museum's collection (see below
It is an independent, private enterprise that does not receive any government funding. During its first year it received some 8000 visitors.
Note that, strictly speaking, the name of the museum is syntactically ambiguous. But of course they don't mean [Museum of [crimes against [humanity and genocide]]] but obviously [Museum of [crimes against [humanity]] and [genocide]]. The notion of “crimes against genocide” would be rather nonsensical … so it should be obvious enough.
What there is to see: I have not yet had a chance to visit this new museum myself yet, so I can only give a brief description based on information and photos supplied by the museum itself and from reviews I've seen on the Internet.
The museum's exhibition has a number of thematic sections, such as concentration camps set up during the war in BiH
, crimes against humanity such as torture and the mass killings at Srebrenica
that are classed as genocide
here and elsewhere (although the application of that term remains contested by some).
Children as victims of the war is another section, as is the topic of perpetrators, including the former fugitives that have meanwhile been caught and put on trial. Material from the archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
is also presented.
Original artefacts on display include various personal items of victims as well as perpetrators, such as instruments of torture. There is a reconstruction of a torture cell, a replica of a mass grave (in the Srebrenica
section) and a mock-up of a mine field.
The museum also has some works of art, especially a sculpture of a man made from bread – to symbolize those killed while waiting in line for bread (cf. the market attacks described in the general Sarajevo chapter
Furthermore there are three films to watch, one about the Siege of Sarajevo, one about sexual violence and one featuring victims' and eye-witnesses' reports.
The horrors of the war are most drastically illustrated through photos, though. Apparently there are many rather graphic images that some reviewers found too shocking. So be forewarned. This is probably not a place for the faint-hearted.
At present the museum is trilingual, in Bosnian, English and Turkish, but it is planned to add further languages as well.
right in the heart of Sarajevo
, at 17 Ferhadija Street.
Access and costs: central and easy, not too expensive.
Thanks to its very central location it's easy to get to the museum on foot from anywhere within the Old Town of Sarajevo
(in fact, given that the museum is on a pedestrianized street, it's the only option). From the Latin Bridge
, for instance, it is a mere 5 minutes' walk, along Zelenih beretki, then right into Strossmayerova, then left into Ferhadija at the Srca Isusova cathedral.
The museum is on the first floor of an old building with no lift, so you have to take the one flight of stairs up.
Opening times: daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Admission: 10 BAM (5 EUR), students get in at half the price.
Time required: Varies. The museum says visitors stay between 30 minutes and 3 whole hours. It largely depends on whether you want to watch all three films in their entirety (combined running time: 90 minutes).
Combinations with other dark destinations:
See under Sarajevo
– the nearest other dark site covered here is the Latin Bridge
(see under access). Even closer by, just across the square by the cathedral, is the new “Gallery 11/7/1995” (a photo exhibition about Srebrenica
), which I have also not yet seen. I suppose it's time for me to go on a return visit to Sarajevo!
Combinations with non-dark destinations:
See under Sarajevo
– given the museum's central location most of the mainstream tourist sights are nearby.
All photos kindly provided by the museum's staff.
- Mocahag 1 - mine warning sign
- Mocahag 2 - personal items of perpetrators
- Mocahag 3 - bread man
- Mocahag 4 - torture
- Mocahag 5 - cell
- Mocahag 6 - Srebrenica
- Mocahag 7 - attacked school
- Mocahag 8 - child victims
- Mocahag 9 - concentration camp chair