Photo by Lovro Pavličić on Unsplash
CROATIAN WRITERS' ASSOCIATION, Zagreb, Croatia
For the Publisher: Bozidar Petrac
Editor: Nikola Duretic
Translated from Croatian: Siniše Glavašević
Translated by: Tamara Budimir
Design: Zlatko Rebernjak
Layout and prepress: FORMA ULTIMA, Zagreb
Printed by: ITG, Zagreb, 2011
The Water Tower of Vukovar Stands Today as a Symbol of the Seige and Massacre
Notes on Stories from Vukovar
I feel I have the responsibility towards the reader to note down how these stories, these beautiful yet sad sketches by Siniše Glavašević, found their way out of the ruins of a war besieged Vukovar during evil times of war. I have copied this from my war log book: Zagreb, 11 November 1991. War rages in Croatia.
During our telephone conversation last night, Siniše Glavašević, the man whose excited journalist voice I already long ago associated with a free and unvanquished Vukovar, surprised me once again for the umpteenth time. Aside from his plea that as a journalist and writer I do all I can for the people of Vukovar and Vukovar, obviously apprehending the horrors that were increasing from hour to hour, threatening both the people and the city, he asked me if I could do something for him, personally. I am not sure if you can understand the excitement when someone phones you up in the middle of the night from a besieged Vukovar and tells you shyly that they have a personal favour to ask of you. The things that fly through your mind and heart. But of all the things I could think of I least expected what followed: “Mladen, in additional to the war reports, while in the ruins of Vukovar, I wrote something for my own soul and the soul of Vukovar. If I manage to, I’ll fax you these children of mine, and I would kindly ask you to read them and then tell me whether you think they might be of any use to anyone else except myself and my city.”
And so, a day later, on 12 November at 5.31 pm the stories by Siniše Glavašević, started arriving at a private fax number in the suburbs of Zagreb.
Three days after that, listeners of Croatian Radio could hear one of Siniše's, stories every evening.
Since then two months have passed. In the meantime, the worst thing imaginable has occurred in Vukovar, and in this tragedy that has beset the Croatian nation Siniše Glavašević, journalist at Radio Vukovar and Croatia Radio, simply vanished.
In the hope of saving his memory of Vukovar for our children and all of us, and in the hope that Sinisa will return to us from Vukovar, Matica Hrvatska accepted to print the book of stories about Siniše's men and the city. Because they truly are childlike and sincere, beautiful and sad, but also full of accusations aimed at evil, war, and times and people living without love and honesty.
Siniše Glavašević's love and the love that the people of Vukovar have for their city and freedom remain a sturdy and silent rock for all times.
Zagreb, March 1992
Today, ten years later, I would like to add something to those times and the times we lived through in the past, but it has all long since become a memory, a monument, and monuments should not be touched or improved. They should simply be preserved and renewed, as Vukovar and Siniše Glavašević have long since said and done all there is to say and do.
Zagreb, November 2001
Mladen Kušec is a Croatian writer and a frequent presenter on Croatian Radio and TV.