The Sarajevo Bridge of Love

Given the events that took place not so very long ago on the Suada and Olga Bridge, better known to Sarajevans as Vrbanja Bridge (the name used before the war), this bridge can easily be called the Sarajevo Bridge of Love.

On April 5, 1992, snipers took the lives of two young women – Suada Dilberović (23),a young medical student, and Olga Sučić (34), a civil servant in the Assembly of the Republic of BiH and mother of two. They were among the first innocent victims of the last war.

Suada Dilberović and Olga Sučić

On that fateful day, they had joined tens of thousands of citizens who were participating in anti-war protests, for love of their country and of their city.

The bridge is now named after Suada and Olga.

However, there was another tragic event that is an even more compelling symbol of love – the powerful emotion that leads people to death with a smile, and which keeps them alive in our memories for ages to come.

A little more than a year after Vrbanja Bridge was bloodied by Suada and Olga’s death, Boško Brkić (25) and Admira Ismić (25) were killed on the same spot. While reporting on this incident, the American war reporter, Kurt Schork, called them “Sarajevo’s Romeo and Juliet”.

The story of their love started at the beginning of 1984, the year of the Olympics, when they met at a New Year’s Eve party and kissed for the very first time. They were both still in school and it was the first love for both of them – it was love at first sight.

The years passed and their love endured and grew stronger. Their relationship survived Boško’s departure for the army and his 11-month absence from Sarajevo and even the nationalistic rhetoric of the early 1990s couldn’t keep them apart, when romantic relationships between members of different “nations” (Boško was Serb and Admira was Muslim) became undesirable.

Then it was 1992 and BiH was caught up in the flames of war. Soon after the demonstrations on Vrbanja Bridge, when Suada Dilberović and Olga Sučić were killed, Sarajevo found itself surrounded, with daily bombardments, a lack of regular electricity, water, food…. Boško and Admira struggled on and made it through more than a year in the besieged city and then they decided to try their luck and to escape from the war’s madness.

Death of Boško and Admira

Vrbanja was right on the line of enemy fire and it was where prisoners were sometimes exchanged, crossing from one side of the bridge to the other.

During a fragile truce, Boško and Admira tried to cross over to Grbavica. From there they had hoped to continue even further and to reach Boško’s mother in Serbia. They planned to stay there until the war ended and then they would come back to Sarajevo and, as Admira wrote to her mother in her farewell letter, “to go on living as if the war had never happened”.

Dawn broke on May 18, a beautiful, sunny day. Witnesses say that Boško and Admira made their way over the bridge, playful and in love, skipping along happily. And then, just as they made it over, a shot was fired, and then a second one! Boško was killed instantly and Admira was badly wounded. She didn’t seek shelter, but crawled over to Boško, embraced him and died in his arms.

Boško and Admira found their final resting place in the Sarajevo cemetery, Lav.

Right below their grave, which is dominated by hearts made from marble, with photos of two young, happy people, lies the grave and ashes of Kurt Schork, who was the first person in the world to tell the story of Sarajevo’s Romeo and Juliet, who died embracing one another on Sarajevo’s Bridge of Love.