Amir Zaketovič

* 1971  

  • “I was afraid they’d come, load us into trucks and send us fight somewhere to Bukovar where there had been hard fights under way. And that I wouldn’t have a chance to escape from there because I did not want to fight against my own people, I saw that as something very wrong. So, that was one of the reasons why I decided to escape.”

  • “I spent several months there (in Klokotnice) in a state of uncertainty. All you do is wait for your turn and the question is not if but when. When the Serb units take over other cities and villages, I’ll be your turn and it’s crystal clear that it’s going to happen.”

  • “Then I found out what had actually been going on in my country. That there was shooting, that people were being killed, soldiers everywhere, the war was in full swing. And the war was pouring over the borders, emerging in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well. That was when I decided to enter the fights and defend Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. So, I joined the Croatian Army and went straight to the battlefields in North Bosnia. I had no idea, of course, and I would like to tell this to the younger generations, that all of us who went there, we simply became puppets in the hands of politicians. And that in all of this that happened, one person was not important, thousands were not important. What was important to them was only the goal. For both of the parties.”

  • “I admit that back then I didn’t really feel any hostilities of Serbs towards us or mine towards them. I wasn’t aware of the danger. I didn’t see it coming, the things that followed. This Ibica guy convinced me and we simply crawled through a little window in the entry gate, in a small house to which you give your ID, a window barely big enough to fit us through… So, we crawled through this window and ran away from the army. At that point I was homeless. I didn’t have anyone in Zagreb anymore, I had nowhere to go. I had no ID, no money, nothing.”

  • “It rained all the time, we slept wherever we could. Many times I experienced a situation – and it was a very strong experience – when I talked with boys my age and one hour later we came in front of a house and they got a direct hit from a grenade launcher, so for the following five hours we carried them in blankets, not knowing who is who.”

  • “I defended Bosnia from bandits. Not from Serbs but from people who were bandits, who came to murder and destroy people’s houses and property just because those people had a different religion. Even in the Bosnian Army there were all kinds of people. Even those who were normal and were not full of hatred. I believe they all fought for the same things as I did, that is for the integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina for all people of all religion.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    České Meziříčí, 30.11.2018

    duration: 01:25:25
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
  • 2

    Hradec Králové, 20.08.2019

    duration: 03:15:05
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

I defended Bosnia from bandits not from Serbs

From his life in Germany
From his life in Germany
photo: Soukromý archiv pamětníka

Amir Robert Zaketović was born October 7, 1971 in Zagreb, Croatia. His father was Catholic and his mother Muslim. He spent his childhood and youth in Bosnia. He enlisted for service in the military when fighting foreshadowing the future dissolution of Yugoslavia had already been under way. Amir, as a Croat with Bosnian roots, gradually started to feel inappropriate in the central Yugoslav Army. Apart from other things, he felt the hostility of the Serbs who dominated there. He deserted after several months and joined the opposition Croatian separatists. He was in charge of supplying the military units in lower Bosnia. Together with his colleague they managed a convoy with food, medical supplies and heavy military vehicles going from the North to the South. The convoy was endangered by the Serbian units and local troops several times. It was hard to decide who to trust in such a chaotic situation. At that time Amir got a message that his life was in danger. He decided to flee Yugoslavia. Thanks to the help of his friends he got to Zagreb after a quick night escape and later got to Germany. There he started living a new life. He worked in a small restaurant of his relatives and thus finally started to make use of his theoretical knowledge, gained at a secondary school of hotel industry. As he wished to accomplish more, he applied for jobs in bigger restaurants. He even worked in one for free just to get a better experience in the field. He fell in love during his visit to the Czech Republic. After some time, he decided to move to Czechia where he started a successful company producing medical supplies.