Exhibition opening: Survival in Sarajevo Jews and Muslims, Serbs and Croats working together during the Bosnian War 1992-1995


January 17, 2014

Contact: Michelle Jeffers
Communications, Programs & Partnerships
415 557-4282

Exhibition opening: Survival in Sarajevo
Jews and Muslims, Serbs and Croats working together during the Bosnian War 1992-1995

Survival in Sarajevo, a multi-panel exhibition on view in the Main Library’s Skylight Gallery, tells the story of how a small community of approximately 1,200 Jewish residents in the multi-ethnic city of Sarajevo turned a synagogue into one of the most effective humanitarian aid agencies operating inside the city during the Bosnian War. This exhibition opens Jan. 18 and will be on view during library open hours until March 16Exhibit on Sarajevo.

For three years, Muslims and Jews, Serbian Orthodox and Catholic Croats, all worked together in the Jewish community’s aid agency, La Benevolencija (Ladino for good will). They ran a soup kitchen, pharmacy, medical clinic, two-way radio to the outside world, woman’s club, adult education courses and a children’s program. When the post was cut off to the city, La Benevolencija brought in the mail – then had its team of young men run through the city to deliver the letters. La Benevolencija also operated eleven rescue convoys out of the war zone between 1992 and 1994 and took more than 900 Jews and non-Jews out of the besieged city.

The exhibit begins with a history of the Jews in the Balkans – from their expulsion from Spain in 1492 to the Holocaust in 1941. When the exhibition turns to the Bosnian war of 1992- 1995, all photographs were taken by Edward Serotta, who covered the conflict for Time magazine, Die Zeit and Süddeutsche Zeitung. This exhibition, while politically neutral, profiles extraordinary people of different ethnic backgrounds who made a difference during difficult times.

This exhibition is made possible by Centropa, Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, The Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest, the Milton and Roslyn Wolf Foundation, Alan & Susan Rothenberg, Morton and Amy Friedkin, Dennis & Tracy Albers and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Related events

Opening Program

Meet photographer and curator Edward Serotta and guest speakers – Jan. 22, 6:30 p.m., Main Library, Koret auditorium.

Sarajevo Today – Sarajevo is a vibrant city, one of the fastest growing metropolises in the region. Find out more about contemporary Sarajevo arts, culture, architecture and life through this panel discussion with Zina Besirevic, Jasminko Halilovic and others familiar with the city. Co-sponsored by the Jericho Foundation – Feb. 13, 6:30 p.m. Main Library, Koret Auditorum.