The horrors of the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the very heart of Europe in 1992, may be all but forgotten – but not by everyone. In this book, Jasna Levinger-Goy offers a vivid, personal story of a family of Jewish origin who identified as Yugoslavs. It traces their journey over a period of ten years, starting with their life in Sarajevo under siege and ending in the United Kingdom.
Without belonging to any of the warring factions, this is Levinger-Goy's true story, a story that takes place on the front lines in the heart of Sarajevo. The book offers a percipient view of the civil war through the eyes of those who witnessed it. We are presented here with the motives, reactions and behaviour of people caught in the crossfire of political and military events outside their control. It illustrates coping with dangers and the resourcefulness needed during the siege and during the perilous journey out, which were needed almost as much in adapting to new circumstances and in building a new life.
Levinger-Goy’s venture into the unknown is tangled with the sense of loss – of home, of a country and the loss of identity. Her experience provides an insightful commentary on how these intersect, overlap and ultimately affect an individual. It sheds light on human suffering and resilience, frailty and ingenuity, cruelty and empathy. It describes unique personal circumstances, but illustrates universal behaviours. Although the book inevitably deals with fear, pain, desperation, loss, and even hatred, it also reveals much about love, hope and happiness and above all about the prevalence of good even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Set against the backdrop of a brutal conflict, this book reminds us of the very human cost of war.