The story


The heinousness of war - compressed into eight days - is portrayed in the example of this thirteen-year-old. Lived through and not invented. 

This is the story of thirteen-year-old Adnan. In the turmoil of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina he witnesses the brutal murder of his parents and sister, himself severely wounded by gunshot wounds. This moment marks the beginning of his struggle for survival. Completely on his own, he manages to save himself with the last of his strength in a house damaged by the fires that have been set, hoping to escape the still raging battles, to survive and finally to be rescued. But in his hiding place, a martyrdom begins for him. 



The motivation


As a special investigator at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, the author worked for more than 5 years in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, investigating on the ground. His investigative work included more than 3 years of various proceedings in connection with the massacre in the Bosnian village of Ahmići. He had direct access to the crime scenes and the opportunity to meet numerous survivors, victims and witnesses, but also some of the accused. The many personal conversations and descriptions opened up to him the full extent of the horror and atrocities in this war. This, together with his familiarity with the country itself, allows him to paint a memorable and realistic picture of that time. The personal relationship with the protagonist, whom he has known since a witness interview in 2005, enabled him - with his consent - to tell this harrowing and stirring story unvarnished and in all its details at first hand. 

Foto: © Thomas Obruča

The message


It is the horror he suffered at first hand.

Although the narrative is set and embedded during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is not only about this war per se, but rather about the portrayal of an individual fate in an exceptional situation. A fate that affects people all over the world as a result of the ongoing conflicts that flare up again and again. Perhaps at this very minute. 

This book dives deep into the abyss of war, describes the almost unspeakable and describes a nightmare that hits the thirteen-year-old's life with full force. It wants to contribute to portraying the tragedy and perfidy of war from the perspective of a child. It shows what the human, but also the child's psyche and soul is capable of enduring. The child at the centre of the plot has survived and can recount the events. He is urged to tell everything. The account shows the unvarnished reality of war and the consequences that come with it. It also focuses on the factors "will to live" and "hope" that enabled the protagonist to endure such horrors. 

Foto: © Thomas Obruča

The author


Born in 1969 and living in Hürm, district of Melk, Lower Austria, Austria.

Married, father of 3 children.

Civil servant at the Austrian Ministry of the Interior in Vienna.



Other publications



Foto: © Michael Bouda