A storm is shaking the hostile world

Bosnian and Herzegovinian soldiers on the Isonzo Front
13.06.2014 - 30.09.2014

Members of Društvo 1313, an association from Bovec that organises presentations of the soldiers’ life on the Isonzo Front. Opening of the exhibition, 13th June 2014

In 2014, we remember the episodes of history from a century ago, when the assassination in Sarajevo set in motion a series of events that inevitably led to war. World War I marked the whole of Europe and its traces are still visible to this day.The exhibition was organized by mag. Damjana Fortunat Černilogar on the incentive of art historian Husein Sejko Mekanović from Bosnia and Herzegovina. With it, the Tolmin Museum wishes to commemorate the bloodbath that affected the lives of so many people, individuals of different nationalities and religions. It also aims to shed light on the ties between Slovenians, Bosnians and Herzegovinians prior to 1914.

Documents date the presence of Slovenians in Bosnia and Herzegovina into the Middle Ages; soldiers from Carniola, together with the officers of the Austro-Hungarian army, as well as foresters and miners, were working in Bosnia even prior to the Austro-Hungarian occupation. The latter occurred in 1878, after which the number of Slovenians only increased.

When Italy entered World War I in 1915, a new front opened. This new, Isonzo Front brought war on the doorstep of the people from the Soča Valley and had a profound effect on their lives. The soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian army, of various nationalities, however, found themselves on unknown territory. The units of the Austro-Hungarian army dispatched to fight on the Isonzo Front included those from Bosnia and Herzegovina; in 1916, it was soldiers of the Fourth Mostar Infantry Regiment (BH IR 4). The Bosnian-Herzegovinian soldiers were much feared amongst their fellow fighters. They were distinguishable by their headgear, the fez, and characterized by perseverance, endurance, patience and bravery. As such, they were often sent to the fiercest battles and given the most demanding tasks, which resulted in one of the highest mortality rates among the regiments of the Austro-Hungarian army. The second Bosnian-Herzegovinian regiment, with a base in Banja Luka, fought in the last battle of the Isonzo Front and received as many as 42 medals for bravery.

The exhibition also presents photos and works of art made by the painters and sculptors serving as Austro-Hungarian soldiers on the Isonzo Front, while the members of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian units are also portrayed through small finds and other permanent traces of their presence in the Soča Valley. These serve as a constant reminder of World War I.

The different nations, the ancestors of which fought on the Isonzo Front, are today tied by the past, the graves of the fallen soldiers buried in military cemeteries or charnels across the Soča Valley, but also the heritage kept in private collections or public and open-air museums. The former battle sites are still being visited by many of the descendants of the soldiers who fought on the Isonzo Front.

The centenary of the ‘Great War’ is commemorated by numerous events in Slovenia and elsewhere across the world. In the following four years, the phrase ‘no more war’ will probably be a wish expressed on many occasions. The numerous conflicts across the globe, however, show that peace today is by no means self-evident. I recently read a comment on how the only thing we learned from the past is that we learned nothing. It is for this reason that past conflicts, such as World War I with all its consequences, should not be forgotten and should be related to the younger generations. The exhibition wishes to do just that. It opens with the assassination in Sarajevo, which took place on 28 June 1914, shows the Bosnian-Herzegovinian units and their characteristics, presents the artists and their works made on the Isonzo Front, illustrates Log pod Mangartom with the most beautiful monument from the war period and the last resting place of the fallen Austro-Hungarian soldiers, but also presents the church of the Holy Spirit at Javorca, which is the most beautiful church building, built in 1916.

Author of the exhibition: mag. Damjana Fortunat Černilogar     
Translation: Andreja Maver
Designed by: Polona Zupančič

Owners of exhibits: Tolminski muzej (The Tolmin Museum), Muzej novejše zgodovine Slovenije (National Museum of Contemporary History, Ljubljana), Narodna galerija (National Gallery, Ljubljana), Goriški muzej (The Gorica Museum), Mirko Kurinčič, Miloš Domevšček, Janko Vončina, Damjan Prelovšek, Husein Sejko Mekanović

Opening of the exhibition, 13th June 2014
A look at the exhibition
Museums on a summer night, 21st June 2014  - guided tour through the exhibition »A storm is shaking the hostile world«.
Museums on a summer night, 21st June 2014  - guided tour through the exhibition »A storm is shaking the hostile world«.
Museums on a summer night, 21st June 2014 - Traditional dances from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Folklore Group of the KUD Sevdah from Ljubljana
Museums on a summer night, 21st June 2014 - Traditional dances from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Folklore Group of the KUD Sevdah from Ljubljana
Postcards of the Soča valley

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