The Srebrenica Memorial Room - a museum-type memorial space created with expertise from the Imperial War Museum - can now be visited opposite the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery in Bosnia Herzegovina.
The idea for the Memorial Room was proposed by Lord Ashdown, former High Representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina, who visited the Imperial War Museum London's Holocaust Exhibition and felt that 'something similar was needed at the Srebrenica Potocari Cemetery' to narrate the events of July 1995, when over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered following the taking of Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces.
Sited in the Battery Factory - the former HQ of the UN Dutch Battalion and opposite the Cemetery, which was dedicated by President Clinton in 2003, the Memorial Room describes the fall of Srebrenica and the desperate efforts of Bosnian Muslims to seek protection in the UN base manned by the Dutch Battalion (Dutchbat) at Potocari. Over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were subsequently murdered in mass shootings in nearby schools and fields or during attempts to reach safety in the free territory of Tuzla by foot.
Suzanne Bardgett, Director of Imperial War Museum London's Holocaust Exhibition, has provided curatorial and other advice to the Bosnian team charged with making this sensitive memorial space.
The Memorial Room was designed by the Sarajevo-based architectural collective .arch and consists of two black towers - one presenting a continuously-running film, the other containing twenty showcases telling the stories of twenty of those who died.
Visitors can view cigarette lighters, tobacco tins, keys, photograph albums and other personal effects excavated from mass graves over the last ten years, and identified by the forensic criminologists of the International Commission for Missing Persons. These tiny fragments help tell the stories of the men and boys who perished in a variety of terrible situations.
The film was directed by British documentary maker, Leslie Woodhead, who made the award-winning two-hour documentary about the massacre, _A Cry from the Grave_, in collaboration with Bosnian film-maker Muhamed Mujkic, who has over the last ten years recorded the excavation of numerous mass graves for the Federal Commission for Missing Persons.
The project has been funded by the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Netherlands Government and the Foundation for the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery. It has been overseen by the Chairman of the Foundation's Executive Board, Beriz Belkic.
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