Sarajevo Bakery Returns 15 Years After Occupation The Jadranka Bakery in Sarajevo closed in 1992 after Bosnian Serb forces occupied parts of Sarajevo. Now owner Aleksandar Bukvic is re-opening the bakery, which brings with it a steady clientele — and hope — 15 years later.
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Sarajevo Bakery Returns 15 Years After Occupation

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Sarajevo Bakery Returns 15 Years After Occupation

Sarajevo Bakery Returns 15 Years After Occupation

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Now, a story about a long-delayed, sweet recovery from war. It has been 15 years since the Jadranka pastry shop was last open to sell its many layered confections in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia. The Bosnian War and the siege of Sarajevo put an end to the bakery, which was boarded up in 1992. The owner Aleksandar Bukvic moved to Canada. But this past Monday, Bukvic reopened the pastry shop on the same Sarajevo corner where his parents first started satisfying sweet teeth in 1956. And once again, he says, one of his best-sellers is the cake called the Bohem.

Mr. ALEKSANDAR BUKVIC (Owner, Jadranka Pastry Shop): The Bohem is a mix of eggs, hazelnut…

BLOCK: Hazelnuts.

Mr. BUKVIC: …and butter, and walnut.

BLOCK: Mr. Bukvic, what are you hearing from people as they find that you are open again after all this time - 15 years?

Mr. BUKVIC: You know, I'm really surprised. You know, I didn't expect so many feelings on the opening of my pastry shop, you know. I'm really expecting here just normal reaction of the people about it. I don't lie, but the people thinks that something is going better than before, you know. I spent 15 years in Canada and I decided to come back and they think, you know, if the guy from Canada came to Bosnia, to Sarajevo, something must be better in Sarajevo, some kind of hope, you know. And one woman, she just came to pastry shop and she started to cry.

BLOCK: Wow. She started to cry just seeing you there, knowing that you had comeback from Canada to Sarajevo to - a sign that things might be getting better.

Mr. BUKVIC: Yes.

BLOCK: Mr. Bukvic, what made you come back to Sarajevo after all this time?

Mr. BUKVIC: You know, after 15 years, I know what can I expect in my future and it wasn't something special, you know. And I decided to make some adventure to go back and try my own business. And I think I didn't make mistake because the reaction of the people was amazing.

BLOCK: The pastry shop is in a part of Sarajevo that was formerly mostly Serb, and now as I understand it, it's mostly Muslim. It must be a very…

Mr. BUKVIC: Yes.

BLOCK: …different place now.

Mr. BUKVIC: Yes. Yes. Many people went to another place (unintelligible).

BLOCK: Big old Serbian population.

Mr. BUKVIC: Yes.

BLOCK: You - you're a Serb yourself.

Mr. BUKVIC: Yes.

BLOCK: And you decided to go back to that same spot even though now it's pretty much Muslim, not Serbian anymore. Why is that?

Mr. BUKVIC: You will not believe me but in my life, I have a lot of Muslim guys surround me, you know, and they are the best of my friends and I like them and they like me, you know.

BLOCK: Well, Mr. Bukvic, best of luck to you there.

Mr. BUKVIC: Thank you very much.

BLOCK: Aleksandar Bukvic speaking with us from the Jadranka pastry shop in Sarajevo, Bosnia which reopened after 15 years on Monday.

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