July 11 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the massacre of more than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys in Srebrenica during the wars in the former Yugoslavia in 1995. Bosniaks are South Slavic Muslims native to Bosnia, an independent country in southeastern Europe that was once part of Yugoslavia. Srebrenica is a town located near Bosnia’s eastern border with Serbia. Following a Serbian military assault on the Srebrenica area, thousands of captured and fleeing Bosniak men and boys were murdered. This massacre happened despite the United Nations designating the region as a “safe area” and posting troops there.
In their campaign to eliminate Bosniaks, Serbian forces also maintained a series of concentration, torture, and forced labor camps, as well as “ghetto villages” that essentially served as open detention camps. The forces that perpetrated this genocide hoped to wipe out the Muslim presence in Bosnia completely.
The Museum’s exhibition American Medina: Stories of Muslim Chicago features oral history excerpts and artifacts of several people who survived this genocide. A native of Bosnia, Mehmedalija Tirić experienced concentration and detention camps during the wars. After he was released from a camp in 1994, he came to Chicago as a refugee.
Listen to an excerpt of his oral history that begins in his native Bosnian language followed by an English-language translator. Tirić mentions a program called Connecting Families that brought him and his family to the United States. Listen now.
Stories of Muslim Chicago
Our exhibition American Medina: Stories of Muslim Chicago draws from more than 100 interviews conducted with Muslim Chicagoans sharing their stories of faith, identity, and personal journeys. Dozens of objects from local individuals and organizations, such as garments, artwork, and photographs, as well as videos and interactive experiences expand on how and why Chicago is known as the American Medina. Learn more.