War Photography by Anja Niedringhaus – R.I.P.
Anja Niedringhaus was killed yesterday in Afghanistan. She was a Pulitzer prize-winning photojournalist from Germany who covered many war zones – Bosnia, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan.
She was wounded by a sniper while covering the Siege of Sarajevo, my city. Today is the anniversary of the Siege’s beginning on April 5th 1992, when snipers opened fire on people demonstrating against war, killing three protestors. It ended almost four years later, making it the longest siege in modern history.
11.541 people were killed in Sarajevo alone, including 1.601 children.
To honor the memory of Anja Niedringhaus and mark the anniversary of the Siege of Sarajevo, here’s a selection of some of her work from Bosnia’s capital.
Zeljko Ruzicic was a journalist too. In this picture, his widow and the rest of his family mourn after he was killed by a grenade.
A father and son from Gorazde reunite in Sarajevo
Mother and son cutting a table to make firewood. It was the only way to keep warm and one of the reasons why Sarajevo’s parks were destroyed and trees cut down. The other reason was making room for graves.
Sarajevans standing in line for water. Lines for water and bread were often targeted by snipers.
Desperation overpowers human dignity.
May 1995: Friends of 17-year-old Amel Hodzic pray at his funeral, after he was shot by a sniper.
Destroyed cars used to be every child’s favorite toy. They’re the war-zone equivalent of treehouses.
Children playing during the Siege of Sarajevo.
UN soldiers examining a tram after it was targeted by snipers. Public transport couldn’t work during most of the siege.
“This picture was taken in 1994 in Sarajevo on so-called ‘sniper alley’. A Bosnian soldier was shot and killed instantly. A Bosnian woman who had just passed by and a French UN soldier tried to save his life but could not.” Anja Niedringhaus
“I only learned her name, Emina, and age, six, after she died. I first spotted her while I was walking up a hill to get into an area in Sarajevo that had come under heavy attack the night before. She and some of her friends were riding small wooden sleds down the hill, enjoying a quiet, sunny but cold winter morning.
I passed the girls and was touched by how children can cope with war, how they can forget it for a few moments and pretend life is normal as they run and sled and play. When I was on top of the hill, a shell landed where the children were playing in the snow, and I ran down to see what happened.
There was Emina lying next to her sled; shrapnel had hit her on the neck and cut the main artery. At this moment, she still looked alive.” Anja Niedringhaus
5th April 1996, a few weeks after the end of the Siege: Sarajevans marking the deaths of Suada Dilberovic and Olga Sucic at the bridge where they were killed during peaceful anti-war demonstrations, making them the first victims of the Siege.
Milomir Vucijak was also shot by snipers during the same demonstration, but died a few days later.
Anja Niedringhaus continued living in Sarajevo even after the end of the Siege, before moving on to other places to raise awareness. She risked and lost her life to tell these stories – something that makes me forever grateful and heartbroken. Rest in Peace.