Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo
Zlata Filipović; translated by Christina Pribichevich-Zorić
Originally published in France as Le Journal de Zlata by Fixot, 1993.
My edition: Penguin, 1995.
A little less than nine years later, onlookers saw the building – rather than its athletes – on fire. On May 25, 1992, Zlata Filipović wrote in her diary: “Today the Zetra Hall, the Olympic Zetra, went up in flames. The whole world knew about it, it was the Olympic beauty, and now it’s going up in flames.”
Twenty years ago this week, as the bombs began raining down on Sarajevo, Zlata Filipovic wanted to escape. Cowering with her family in the basement of their house, frozen with fear, she dreamed of peace and freedom.
Story Summary: This is a young girl’s account of day-to-day living in war-torn Bosnia. Through her descriptions, we learn about her personal thoughts and feelings. Her entries capture experiences that are common adolescent concerns: worries about being popular, entertainment, and what will happen in the future. Before war broke out, Zlata Filipovic was a normal, happy twelve-year-old, but life changed in the spring of 1992 when Serbian artillery
positions were placed on hills above her home, and the shelling of Sarajevo began. Zlata was forced to spend much of her time in a cellar protected from the bombings. Food, electricity, and water were scarce and friends and relatives were injured and killed in the gunfire and bombings.