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The Siege of Sarajevo

One Family’s Story of Separation, Struggle, and Strength

Sanja Kulenovic

160 pages
KiCam Projects LLC

Sanja Kulenovic and her new husband were celebrating their honeymoon in Pasadena, California, in 1992 when they turned on CNN to discover their hometown, Sarajevo, being devastated by bombing. As the nation of Yugoslavia collapsed, Sanja and her husband became people without a country, but their primary concern was their family and loved ones back home. How were they doing? What was happening to them as the city was sieged? Would they survive?

Sanja recounts her and her husband’s efforts to build a new life as refugees in Southern California, finding joy in securing a pizza-delivery job and receiving letters or brief phone calls from Sarajevo. Those letters—often written in darkness as bombs fell and gunfire rang out—vividly capture the suffering Sanja’s family and other Sarajevans endured through almost four years of daily bombardments, the perpetual threat of sniper fire, and three frozen, foodless winters.

The Siege of Sarajevo illustrates the human toll of war and the highly personal consequences of what often seem like faraway conflicts. The book is also a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, reminding readers that they—like Sanja and her family—are stronger than they ever imagined.

Author Bio

Sanja Kulenovic is a Russian-born Bosnian, now an American citizen, who has called Southern California home since the early 1990s, when she was stranded due to the Bosnian War. She studied economics and English language and literature at the University of Sarajevo, where several of her essays and short stories appeared in the university’s magazine. In 1993, she presented a speech at a United Nations-sponsored event for Bosnian women and children, along with actress Sophia Loren. Since then, Sanja has earned a master’s degree in economics and has been working as a financial analyst for an engineering corporation that helped rebuild Bosnia’s infrastructure after the war. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters.