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Unspoken Genocide: Survivors of WW2 genocide speak after decades of silence

David Sladek | Bosnia and Herzegovina

Milica Sabljić, Serbian survivor of WW2 genocide in Independent State of Crotia.

Nightmares, family secrets and decades of pain – such is the legacy of war to those who survived it. A lesser known chapter of World War 2 left an in-erasable mark on post war lives of Serbs, Jews and Roma who managed to see the end of a fascist rage in the Independent State of Croatia. Unimaginable horrors are still vivid in their memories despite all the tries to suppress them. Some of the stories were never told in full for personal reasons, but some were swept under the carpet by Tito's policy of Unity and Brotherhood which aimed to equalize all nations of new Yugoslavia (including the two main sides of the genocide). Twenty survivors speak of their childhood amidst murders and concentration camps in a new book Unspoken Genocide due in March/April 2017.

The survivors.

David Sladek is a Czech independent photographer and journalist living in London. For several years he worked for the Czech News Agency as a reporter. Since moving to the UK he has been focusing his work on minorities and subcultures of England. During his project with the Serbian diaspora in London he had stumbled upon an unknown to him chapter of WW2 - genocide on Serbs, Jews and Roma by Ustashe and Catholic church in the Independent State of Croatia.

Unspoken Genocide is a collection of images and interviews completed during a two year work in the Balkans – mainly Bosnia (Banja Luka) and Serbia (Belgrade). Its aim isn’t to serve photography critics as a source of countless speculations but to set the viewer straight into the emotions of people behind the stories. Memories and pain of genocide survivors must not be supressed by politics or encoded into a complicated artistic language - as if it wasn’t enough that today’s world is so foreign to their generation. The photographer in this case is merely a medium to convey the message – plain and simple. After all, not the unbelievably cruel stories are at the fore of the equal-titled book, but the inability to speak about them.

Unspoken Genocide is not only a book but also an exhibition set that is looking for space to be displayed in a form of a pop-up exhibition or a temporary one. It has premiered in London on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day in January 2017.

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