Finding Elvis

Bjoern Steinz

In 1992, Bjoern Steinz volunteered in a refugee camp for Bosnian refugees in Croatia where he met a 6 year old boy called Elvis. In 2017, 25 years later, he found Elvis again through social media and they met up. ~~On 6 June 1992 the village of Miljevina, 64 km southeast of Sarajevo, was shelled and attacked by Serbian paramilitaries. Six year old Elvis, his sister Elvira, their parents and their grandmother had to flee their home. Another 22,500 Muslims, the majority of local population, also fled. The family made its way through the Bosnian mountains to Varazdin in Croatia over 18 days where they found shelter in an abandoned military base that had been turned into a refugee camp. They were to spend the next 3 years here, waiting for the conflict to finish. At this time, Björn Steinz was finishing his civil service, an alternative to military service, in Germany and felt compelled to contact 'Christlicher Friedensdienst' (Christian Peace Service) which sent volunteers to the Balkans. During the winter of 1992 he travelled to Varazdin where he met Elvis and the family for the first time.

They lived together for three weeks and Björn produced a photo essay about the refugees' daily life. Some of the images were exhibited in 1993 in Germany to raise money for the refugees. After that, the photographs disappeared into his archive. But the images of little Elvis atop an artillery piece and another of him looking out of a window with his grandmother kept coming back to Björn over the coming years. ~~In the summer of 2016 he received an email from Hana Maass, a Bosnian woman living in San Francisco about his images from Varazdin in 1992. Hana had been a refugee at the camp and remember all the volunteers. She said that they made life possible there. Hana's email was the trigger for Björn to try and find Elvis again.~~All he knew was Elvis' first name and his grandmother, whom everyone generically called 'Nana' (or grandmother in Bosnian). It had been Nana who had kept everyone's spirits up, cooking endless pots of Bosnian coffee, one of the few things the refugees had and shared with the volunteers. ~~With the help of Radio Free Europe (RFERL) and an appeal for Elvis to get in touch broadcast on Bosnian television, social media and on the RFERL Balkan Service website it took just 12 hours for a message to come back from Elvis Levis Causevic who invited Björn to come and see him in Sarajevo. Five days later, Björn was on a plane descending into the snowy Bosnian capital to meet Elvis for the first time in 25 years.~~After three years in Varazdin, Elvis' family had emigrated to Germany where they stayed until 1999. They were supposed to emigrate to Australia from Germany but Nana refused and convinced the family to go back to their native land. She had passed away seven years earlier at the age of 78 and had insisted that she be buried in Miljevina, the village they had fled in 1992 which now lies in the autonomous Republika Srpska. Few living Muslims have returned to live there.~~Elvis is now married to Irma and has two children, Adna (3) and Aldin (1). They live with his sister Elvira and her family in the village of Hadzici, 20 km south of Sarajevo. ~~Elvis first went to Gastronomical and Tourism college in Sarajevo, worked as a waiter in Italy for a while and headed a restaurant in Sarajevo before starting to work in a furniture shop back in Bosnia. Elvis' father Nedzib sells 'Planinski Caj' ("mountain tea") at a local market.~~The reunion was very emotional, enhanced by the legendary Bosnian hospitality. Björn and Elvis talked and walked around Hadzici, Sarajevo and the surrounding Igman mountains. Elvis explains that the experience of being a refugee traumatised him and he still worries that one of his children will have to go through the same experience if there were to be another conflict in Bosnia. He is practicing Muslim and prays five times a day but doesn't subscribe to any radical interpretation of the religion. ~~Björn hopes to return to Bosnia to continue the dialogue and friendship with Elvis, uncovering further details of the experience of a person who becomes a refugee at an early age.~~To view a short interview with Elvis, please click HERE or to view a short film about the reunion, please click HERE. ~

 

Display

Bjoern-Steinz

Select a subject

  • Group 2 (0)
    • Stories (867)

      Croatia

      Refugees from Bosnia in the Varazdin refugee camp in...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229180

      Croatia

      Children at the Varazdin refugee camp in the winter...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00228857

      Croatia

      Refugee children from Bosnia play in the yard of a...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00228933

      Croatia

      Refugee children and a man wear in a camouflage...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00228923

      Croatia

      Bosnian Muslim refugees in the Varazdin refugee camp...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229092

      Croatia

      Bosnian child refugees play on an artillary piece in...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00228924

      Croatia

      'Nana' (grandmother), a Bosnian matriarch at the...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00228848

      Croatia

      A soldier, on leave from fighting on the front lines...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00228853

      Croatia

      'Nana' (grandmother), a Bosnian matriarch, making...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00228852

      Croatia

      A refugee child from Bosnia in the Varazdin refugee...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00228934

      Croatia

      A Bosnian mother and child at the Varazdin refugee...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00228855

      Croatia

      Clothes drying on a line at the Varazdin refugee camp...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00228856

      Croatia

      People living at the Varazdin refugee camp in the...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00228974

      Croatia

      A boy looking through a hole in a broken window at...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00228922

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      Elvis Causevic in Sarajevo. Elvis, originally form...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229039

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      The names of those killed and missing displayed at...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229069

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      Elvis Causevic at the monument for children killed...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229181

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      Elvis Causevic stands on an artillary piece in...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229221

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      Quarter Bascarsija, Sarajevo's old bazaar and the...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00228832

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      A cat at the Sarajevo Tunnel museum, also known as...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229297

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      Elvis Causevic checking his mobile phone on a road...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229136

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      A map showing a surrounded Sarajevo at the Sarajevo...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229301

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      Typical Bosnian food at the home of Elvis Causevic....

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229219

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      Former refugee Elvis Causevic walking to his family's...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229040

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      Former refugee Elvis Causevic with his wife Irma and...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229094

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      Elvis Causevic pouring a cup of traditional Bosnian...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00228977

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      Former refugee Elvis Causevic playing with his son...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229041

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      Former refugee Elvis Causevic with his daughter Adna...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229042

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      Elvis Causevic's father Nedzib and sister Elvira in...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229019

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      Herbs collected by Elvis Causevic's father Nedzib. He...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229224

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      Elvis Causevic's father Nedzib in the family home....

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229020

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      Herbs collected by Elvis Causevic's father Nedzib. He...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00228926

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      Elvis Causevic with his father Nedzib in the family...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229001

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      A crossing with a street sign pointing to Sarajevo...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00228927

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      A village in the mountains near the Igman plateau,...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229226

      Bosnia Herzegovina

      Local craft products displayed for sale on a car at...

      © Bjoern Steinz

      00229228

      of
      Panos Pictures  1 Honduras Street  London  EC1Y 0TH  UK |  telephone: +44 20 7253 1424 |  email: [email protected]     
      POWERED BY INFRADOX