Krstan Bijeljac

Krstan Bijeljac, born in 1916, an orthodox priest who joined the antifascist movement in 1941 and received the Partisan Memorial Award of 1941. He is the only living representative of the Serb people on the territory of the Federation of BH who was a delegate at the historic first session of ZAVNOBiH in Mrkonjic Grad. After the Second World War he worked for the Red Cross, the Socialist Union and other institutions. He retired in 1980's.

The Dusko Kondor Civil Courage Award is given to Krstan Bijeljac because, although he was aware of the risk:

  • He stayed in Sarajevo which was under siege by units of the Army of Republika Srpska
  • In the absence of active orthodox priests, who had deliberately decided to leave the city at the beginning of the siege of Sarajevo, he decided to return to his priest's calling, wear a priest's habit and hold masses in the Old Orthodox Church of Sarajevo
  • During the siege he went all over the city, risking his life to share the fate of his congregation and that of all his fellow citizens,
  • He proved his civil courage by defying all negative authorities of that time, first those of his own ethnic and religious group, and then others who disapproved of his fight for the shared social values of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and proving that multicultural life is possible
  • Krstan Bijeljac is a pioneer in the protection of human rights. He has been supporting them tirelessly for 69 years already, saying: "Today, many things are different, this is some new time, some new people... However, I have already said that people are unimportant, only the facts are important. Mrkonjic Grad, the session of ZAVNOBiH which set the foundation for BiH – these are the facts. Since then, we have become a state which, regardless how much denied by some people, no one will ever be able to dissolve. People will not allow it, whatever these politicians try and say".

Due to serious health problems that prevented Mr. Krstan Bijeljac from attending the Ceremony, fra Marko Orsolic accepted the award on his behalf.

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