|How to act||
Culture, Spreading information
Bosnia and Herzegovina, London, Mostar, Sarajevo, UK
1992, 1993, 1994, 1995
“Bosnia-Herzegovina Heritage Rescue”
The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina led to enormous destruction of the country’s rich cultural heritage. This prompted several international initiatives; one of them was led by the American-British art historian Marian Wenzel (1932 – 2002), who since the 1950s had dedicated much of her life to the historical heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina. After the start of the war in 1992, she created the London-based “Bosnia-Herzegovina Heritage Rescue” (BHHR) foundation, and also visited BiH several times during the war. Wenzel and BHHR worked in cooperation with cultural figures from BiH such as Azra Begić and Enver Imamović to attract the world’s attention to the destruction of cultural heritage in BiH and Bosnian cultural actors’ efforts to preserve and secure works of art and manuscripts, for example the Haggadah.
Wenzel and BHHR also lobbied for an effective UNESCO intervention in this field, and to support cultural activities in the war-torn country. In this sense, she wrote in June 1993 in a letter to US-President Bill Clinton: “(…) I visited Sarajevo and other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina recently, in order to investigate the situation of a cultural heritage in that country. On the spot, people told me that their country required aid for monuments, aid for education and aid for cultural activities which they are bravely trying to keep going during the war, and often succeeding in the face of terrible adversity. (…) Up until now (to date) UNESCO has been prevented of acting usefully in Bosnia-Herzegovina by the UN. But Humanitarian aid must not be limited to food, medicine and blankets, which is just charity. Helping the cultural life of this people in danger is recognition of their dignity, and the things that are important to them, that go beyond questions of personal physical survival.”