|How to act||
Amsterdam, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Netherlands, Sarajevo, Split
Gerard Spekman’s travel to Sarajevo
Gerard Spekman from Amsterdam, born in 1919, was one of about 50 participants in the Mir Sada – Peace Now March in August 1993 who managed to enter Sarajevo. During World War II and the persecution of Jews in the Netherlands and Amsterdam, Gerard could not do much. This greatly influenced his decision not to remain just an observer after the outbreak of a new war in Europe in 1992, especially since he established his connection with BiH earlier during his visit in Medjugorje. Although he had a planned vacation with his grandchildren in the summer of 1993, joining the Peace Now peace march and visiting Sarajevo seemed to him to be the most important and the only right decision.
He traveled by train from Amsterdam to Zagreb, and from Zagreb to Split by plane, where he joined the other participants in the Mir Sada march. Along the way, he kept a diary, in which he briefly described experiences and reflections. Ramsko Lake was the last stop of their collective journey. In his diary, Gerard writes that he was tired of the discussions that took place on the lake, and he was additionally frustrated by the language barrier, which made it difficult for him to understand the discussions and further plans.
After the continuation of the march towards Sarajevo was canceled for security reasons, Gerard and those most determined did not want to stop. They formed a small car convoy with about 50 people, who could not follow the planned route of the march due to the war. Arriving in Zenica, after heated discussions with the UN, they still managed to get permission for further passage to Sarajevo. Although they managed to get acquainted with the war during the trip, entering the besieged Sarajevo was like entering a parallel dimension. Gerard spent two days in Sarajevo. The first night he spent at the Holiday Inn hotel and the second night, he was hosted by the Sijarić family at their home. Upon his return to Amsterdam, he spoke about his experience and the circumstances under which people live in BiH and besieged Sarajevo. His family remembers that he felt ashamed and had the impression that he had done nothing, because due to the circumstances he brought only a little food and medicine with him, while the Sijarić family considers his entry into besieged Sarajevo a heroic act. On September 9, 1993, he wrote a letter to the Sijarić family, which waited for 28 years until it finally reached them.