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Siniše Glavašević: Stories of Vukovar

Glavašević was a native of Vukovar, finishing primary and secondary schooling there and entering the University of Sarajevo, where he graduated with a degree in Comparative Literature. During the Croatian War of Independence, he was the chief editor of Vukovar radio station.

During the Battle of Vukovar, Glavašević was regularly reporting from the besieged city. He is particularly remembered for a series of stories he had read to the listeners, that talked about basic human values.

On October 16, 1991, Glavašević said on Croatian Radio:

Vukovar submits to Croatia, Europe and the world - either the Croatian authorities will do everything to obtain a permanent cease-fire, or they will send the necessary and efficient assistance, of the military kind, or they will evacuate the entire civilian population of this area. There is another option, and that is the complete and final destruction of the city and a massacre of the population, as well as two hundred and fifty heavily wounded. However, that option isn't on anyone's mind here. The heroes of this city are necessary for some time yet, as living witnesses of this war. Thank you Zagreb. Don't cut this part...


On November 18, 1991, Glavašević sent in his last report, which ended with:

The picture of Vukovar at the 22nd hour of the 87th day [of the siege] will remain forever in the memory of the witnesses of this time. There are infinite spooky sights, and you can smell the burning. We walk over bodies, building material, glass, detritus and the gruesome silence. ... We hope that the torments of Vukovar are over.


Glavašević disappeared during the fall of Vukovar. It was later found that he was executed by the Serbian paramilitary forces along with hundreds of others in the Vukovar massacre, between November 18 – 20. In 1997, his body was exhumed from a mass grave in the nearby farm of Ovčara.

In 1992, Matica hrvatska printed Stories from Vukovar (Croatian: Priče iz Vukovara), a collection of stories by Glavašević. English translation of the collection was published in 2011.  These lyrical stories are his only preserved literary attempts.


See article from source: Wikipedia: Siniša Glavašević and Stories from Vukovar.


Photo by Peter Denton.

A child waits for the United Nations to evacuate the town after the fall of Vukovar in 1991.

War is truly the most terrible and destructive thing to happen to mankind. Up until yesterday, many gestures, individual words and signs that we once used so arrogantly, have now, in the maelstrom of death, become clearer.

Vukovar must be the most honest city in the world, as every word is almost immediately mirrored in the heart.

In Vukovar, it is impossible for someone to wish you good morning without actually meaning it. When they ask after your health, they do not ask you whether you have a cold, whether you have rheumatism, or something in that vein.

What they are actually referring to is your life and the wounds you may have sustained, even though you were sitting obediently in a cellar. You might have got them while trying to help someone in the street. Bomb fragments, shrapnel, bullets are quicker than your thoughts and will callously cut short even the most beautiful of innocent dreams, like the dream dreamt by a six-month old baby in the arms of its mother. They will destroy even those rare moments that those plagued by war manage to salvage in which, if only in their imagination, they are with people dear to them.

Believe me, war is the basest form of mankind’s ignobility, which he has concocted in his debauchery, probably so that afterwards he can sully it all over again in remorse.

It seems to me that I am one of the lucky few who has managed to note down his thoughts in search of what has been lost, or that which has as yet not been acquired, no matter.

And as I write, somewhere deep in my thoughts, or sometimes even faced by a living portrait of blood, death anddestruction, I have not forgotten the fighters, the defenders of Croatia who did not have the luck to welcome their own thoughts, let alone their families and their loved ones. In their stead, I give you my introductory note, a note on truth and love.


Siniša Glavaševic


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