ACTION ALERT: IRGC calls for International Campaign to end Bosnian Genocide Denial

ACTION ALERT: IRGC calls for adopting the Bill C-533 – second parliamentary reading

ACTION ALERT: Canadian Parliament Adopts Srebrenica Genocide Resolution

Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada

“Remember me”

Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada
Published: November 8, 2011  

Sanela Ramic Jurich

“Remember me”

Where is God? Dear God, help me … Dear God, help me … Dear G—

Highly Recommended


“The good ended happily and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.” – Oscar Wilde

At the innocent age of fifteen, Selma is just beginning to experience the power of her first love. Unfortunately, living in Bosnia in 1992, Selma and her parents soon find themselves targets of the Bosnian War, and her father is arrested by the Serb Army and held for questioning. In an attempt to protect her daughter, Selma’s mother sends Selma to stay with her aunt, but that seems to be a mistake.

Days after arriving, the city is attacked, her family members are murdered before her eyes, and Selma is thrown into a concentration camp where she lives out her worst nightmare. After losing nearly all those she loves, being abused by those whom she once trusted, and witnessing prejudice at its ugliest, Selma isn’t sure she even wants to stay alive. Will Selma ever escape from room ten alive? And if she does, will her broken spirit ever recover? Will she have any family to return to? Will she ever find love again?

Follow Selma Jovanovic’s journey through love, despair, hope, and peace in author Sanela Jurich’s Remember Me. Experience the brutality of the Bosnian Genocide, but see how God’s hand restores Selma’s life tenfold. Understand the courage it takes to face your attackers and relive the pain in the name of justice. Discover whether love can blossom from beneath the rubble of war.

All the characters in this book are fictional; however, every single one of them was inspired by a real person who is no longer alive.

Let me tell you a little bit about a few:

Please note: these are not their actual names and all the similarities are coincidental.

Selma’s character was inspired by a beautiful, young girl I knew. She was happy, kind, and smart. She loved both of her parents, but her dad was her hero.
Her next door neighbor did unimaginable things to her in 1992, but she survived and got out of the country. After the war, she went to The Hague, Netherlands to testify against her attacker and his friends, showing incredible courage just to be there…
After going through torture of telling the court—in detail—what the monster had done to her, she believed she’d get some kind of justice. Her life was (after all) worth something to others…

However, it turned out that her life wasn’t really worth much to anyone but her family: She received the worst news—the news that drove her over the edge, forcing her to take her own life. Her attacker, rapist, the man who held her as a slave and who brought hundreds of others like himself to rape and beat her… was sentenced to less than a year in prison. He was not charged with rape, but other inhumane acts… after all—in courts’ eyes—this was the time of war…
So Selma (not her real name) never got her “happily ever after”. She is now dead and the monster is alive and free…

Johnny’s character was inspired by a boy I knew since I was in first grade. He was blond with blue eyes. He never seemed to notice admiring glances that were thrown his way everywhere he went. He was modest and shy.

Johnny (not his real name) was in the same convoy that carried me from Prijedor to Travnik, August 21, 1992. He was taken out of the truck and killed in cold blood, along with about 250 other men and boys. He too, never got his “happily ever after”.
I will never be able to get rid of the memory of the last look he gave me as he was taken away, and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness for not being able to save them.

The character of Helena was inspired by a very deer friend. She got married in 1991. When the war in Prijedor started in ’92, her baby boy was only a few months old. One day Serb soldiers showed up at her door. They took her husband and father-in-law outside where they gunned them down. They—the soldiers— then raped her and forced her and her sister-in-law to a concentration camp…

She got pregnant, but survived the torture and was helped—by one of the soldiers—to get out of the country. After the war, the man who helped her get out, showed up where she lived (in a different country) and took her baby-girl away.
She is now mentally ill and living somewhere in Europe.

The character of Kemal was inspired by a relative. He was always so happy and childish. He was only seventeen when he was beaten to death in one of the Concentration Camps by an acquaintance he said hello to.

The character of Dana was inspired by my own—then—best friend. Who hung up the phone on me when I called for help when my parents and I had nothing to eat and no way of getting any food. Later, I found out, that her father and her uncle were involved in the “ethnic cleansing” they (the Serb army) did in Hambarine (my mother’s home town).

Damir’s character was inspired by an amazing person who I still love and respect.

Radovan—the monster—was inspired by a neighbor who repeatedly came over to my house, threatening my father and taking him out of our home to execute. My father survived because another one of our neighbors (also a Serb soldier)—God rest his soul—stepped in.

The inspiration for Radovan’s character is still free and living in Prijedor.

All of the people I mentioned in acknowledgments in Remember Me, were my inspiration and their stories—although switched around a bit to fit Selma’s life story—were told in my book. They were all close relatives:

Agan Kadiric was in his early twenties. We all called him Fritz because he was so fair. His blond hair was almost yellow and a little curly. He had the biggest heart of anyone I ever met. He married the love of his life (who he was courting for many years). They had a beautiful baby boy who was a few months old the last time his daddy held him. The Serb army showed up and ordered Fritz, his father, and his brother Dado (who was also in his twenties. He left his wife, and a year old son behind) to get outside. When they did, they were shot to death. Fritz left behind a mother (who lost two sons and a husband in one day), a wife, and a son who is now a very handsome young man, living with a huge void—of never knowing his dad—in his chest.

Samir Kadiric was Fritz’s cousin, also in his early twenties. We all called him Peka as a joke. Peka means something like ‘one who is conceded’, which he was not at all. He was kind, friendly, and always soft spoken. He had the greenest eyes… Peka didn’t have a chance to experience marriage or the joy of having children. He was killed the same way Fritz was and on the same day. He left behind a mother and a father, a sister and a younger brother.

Crnci’s real name was Admir. We called him Crnci because of his black hair and dark completion. He was attending college in Sarajevo at the time, however, he returned home in 1992 thinking if there was going to be war in Bosnia, it would be in its capital – Sarajevo. He couldn’t have known that what awaited him at home was either concentration camp or death. He was killed by Serbs the same day and in the same way as Fritz and Peka.

Mirzet Arnautovic lived in Puharska (Prijedor). He was in his early twenties and married to my cousin Lela. Their baby boy was just an infant when the Serb-army showed up at their door step and killed Mirzet, his father, along with their neighbor – men and boys. Lela and their baby were taken to a concentration camp…

Esef Ejupovic was my favorite uncle of all. Esef was in his forties and visiting his daughter in Biscani (Prijedor) when the army showed up to do the “ethnic cleansing”. He, his son-in-law, and his son in law’s father were all taken away and killed. He left behind a wife, five daughters and many grandchildren.

Ziska Ejupovic was my aunt. When the Serb-soldiers showed up at her door, they demanded money and jewlery. After she gave them everything she had, they shot her. She left behind a husband and three children. Her youngest was hidden in a corn field nearby and witnessed the whole deadly event. He is now an adult and living with a horrible memory of the last time he ever saw his mother.

Velid Aliskovic was my cousin. He was in his early twenties. I am not exactly sure how he died; only that he was taken away from home by the Serb army. His mother died shortly after and his father, brother, sisters, nieces, and nephews are constantly talking about and missing him.

As I’m thinking about and mentioning all of their names, countless of others are popping into my head…

I pray that they all rest in peace.

Although, all of the people that inspired me had such horrible faiths, I had to make my book into an inspirational, love story. As a hopeless romantic, I needed it to have a happy ending…I had to bring them back to life somehow.
So, I hope that you can relate to Selma’s desire for a “happily ever after”, and Johnny’s optimistic outlook on life.

Sanela Ramic Jurich

“One thing is for certain: There won’t be any more mass graves and torture rooms and rape rooms.”  – Bush (press availability in Monterrey, Mexico, Jan. 12, 2004)


Chapter 9

Where is God? Dear God, help me … Dear God, help me … Dear G—

Concentration Camp in Prijedor, (Europe) in 1992


About the Author

Sanela Ramic Jurich

“A good book should leave you slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it.” – William Styron


Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada