Burying his home destroyed by war in the 1990s, a Bosnian man left a note: “Built by love, destroyed by hate.”
Serif Velic from the northwestern city of Prijedor was a metal worker in Germany, where he saved enough money to build a house in his village of Kevljani.
Muslims in Prijedor had suffered massacres and other war crimes in 1992, forced out of their homeland by the thousands because their dwellings were either confiscated or destroyed.
Velic’s house is one of those that were razed to the ground.
After returning to his village with his family after the war, Velic decided to give his former home a proper burial when he saw it in ruins.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Velic said he had quit his job in Germany with the eruption of the Bosnian War, joining the army as a volunteer at a time when Serbs began to exile Bosnian civilians in the region.
Velic was then captured and taken to the concentration camps.
“I was also subjected to severe torture in the concentration camp. A few months later, I got out of the camp thanks to the prisoner exchange. Then, I took refuge with my family in Sweden,” he recounted.
Returning to Kevljani in 2001 for the first time after the war, he found his home left in ashes and debris.
“When we returned to the village, we found a ruin where our house used to be. Everything was lost in the grass. That day, I decided to save money and lay my house to the ground just like a human corpse,”
“First, we transferred the ruins to a field. Then we brought a bulldozer and dug a four-and-a-half-meter deep hole. We buried everything there. We dumped nine trucks of soil on it,” said Velic.
Velic said the house was very important to him and seeing its remains made him feel like he lost a child.
“Every penny I invested in it was halal, but those evil people destroyed it without paying attention.”
A tombstone that reads, “Built in 1974 and demolished in 1992. Built by love, destroyed by hate,” was erected on the site of the buried house.
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