In Mostar we encountered the traces of “divided” memory – in a divided city which remembers the war of 1992-1995 in different ways and which at the same time shares (or shared) joined memories of the Second World War. Of particular interest to us was, on the one hand, the Partisan Monument, a memorial complex created by the architect Bogdan Bogdanović in the 1960s. On the other hand, we set out to find traces of the Bruce Lee memorial which had been erected in 2007 and had confronted the inhabitants of Mostar with the question, which common values and ideas were shared by people in the former Yugoslavia regardless of their ethnicity and their political attitude.
The neglected Partisan Monument of today does not have a Website.
More information on the Bruce Lee memorial can be found on the Official Website of the Federal Arts Council, Project “Relations - De/Construction of Monument”: http://www.projekt-relations.de/de/get/pressematerial/de_construction.php
The Partisan Monument in Mostar serves as a cemetery for 810 partisans, who were killed while fighting the Ustaše and the German occupying forces. The grounds of the cemetery are divided into several parts by gates and invite people to take a walk around.
The beautifully designed and spacious grounds and the view over the city still attract many young people today; this becomes obvious through the rubbish and the numerous beer bottles which are scattered throughout the entire grounds. Graffiti is sprayed onto the walls and ornaments.
Is this maybe even part of it? After all, Bogdanović‘s memorials consciously abstain from pathos and accusation. They offer a chance to linger, to walk and sit around, and maybe even to party, to drink, and to forget. Is this consistent? Is this lively? I do not know. I feel sorry for the dead buried here.
I have been looking forward to visiting Mostar ever since we got the travel directions for our trip. The temperature continually increases. Of course, in the hottest city in Europe. First a break. Time to take a shower and relax a little bit. In the afternoon, a guided tour through the city. First destination: Stari most, the Old Bridge. Connection between orient and occident, Christianity and Islam. The bridge was destroyed by the Croatians in 1993. War in the city.
The stari most was rebuilt. Is there once again peace in the city? Is the city still divided into two? Difficult to say. Most people here have no problem anymore with entering the other side of the city, but they do not feel reunited. We stroll through the bazaar. Very oriental.
I feel like a tourist. May I do so? Everywhere I see bullet holes in the houses and streets. We pass along the front-line. Looking for Bruce Lee. He is gone. His memorial was erected in the park in 2005. Ultimately, it was only to remain there for one night. The memorial was supposed to symbolise the connection between the two parts of the city, between East and West. Not accepted by many and then – after only a few hours – “abused”. What a pity. Some of our group return to the city. Simply get away from everything. Be a little bit of a tourist after all.
The others set out for the Partisan Monument. No signs, nothing gives an indication of this place. Finally we arrive. I am deeply impressed – Cretan-looking horns, symbols of the sun, mystical shapes, curled bands of stone. The necropolis is neglected, but in my opinion more beautiful than the stone flower in Jasenovac, also created by Bogdanović. The day ends with a dinner for our group. In the courtyard, some of us have a little party – in a Jacuzzi.
I do not. I need time by myself. At last digest everything a little bit. Take a breath. Mostar is an incredibly beautiful city and I decide for myself that this is not the last time I am here. What a peculiar day, this holiday. At this point we do not know yet, how much we were going to need it.