Bosnia's invisible children: Living in dignity | DW Documentary

  • Published: 26 October 2019
  • During the war in Yugoslavia, thousands of Bosnian women were raped and many became pregnant as a result. But their children are even now not recognized as war victims. The NGO "Forgotten Children of War" aims to change that.

    In Bosnia-Herzegovina, they are known as "Nevidljiva djeca"- "invisible children." Their mothers were raped, by enemy soldiers during the war in Yugoslavia - and sometimes also by UN peacekeepers. The Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences estimates that between 2,000 and 4,000 Bosnian children were born after their mothers had been raped during the war. Often marginalized and stigmatized by society, many of these "invisible children" who are now young adults have led miserable lives. Ajna Jusić is the daughter of a Bosnian Muslim woman who was raped by a Croatian soldier during the conflict. For years she knew nothing of her mother’s ordeal. But now her NGO "Forgotten Children of War" wants to bring these "invisible children" together and give them a voice. She says it is a matter of recognition and respect and is pressing the Bosnian government to officially recognize them as war victims.

    DW Documentary gives you knowledge beyond the headlines. Watch high-class documentaries from German broadcasters and international production companies. Meet intriguing people, travel to distant lands, get a look behind the complexities of daily life and build a deeper understanding of current affairs and global events. Subscribe and explore the world around you with DW Documentary.

    Subscribe to:
    DW Documentary:
    DW Documental (Spanish):
    DW Documentary وثائقية دي دبليو: (Arabic):

    For more visit:

    DW netiquette policy:

Comments • 741

  • colours_ [Education for Peace]

    Truly shameful the atrocities that those monsters perpetrated against other human beings like them and, as an inevitable consequence, the never-ending pain that so many victims are left struggling with.
    A human being is a human being.
    Perpetrators of human rights abuses belong in only one place: Prison.
    Peace, healing and hope for Bosnia-Herzegovina and the entire region.

    • Tanya Duvell
      Tanya Duvell  2 days back

      These boys and girls are setting an example to youngsters in the UK to show how strong someone can be.

      • cie L
        cie L  5 days back

        who said this bosnia, who shot this film is fabricating becuase it must be istanbul.

        • ninuxy
          ninuxy  3 weeks back

          Alt-Reichism and Nationalism are a disease.

          • Kenan Bajrić
            Kenan Bajrić  1 weeks back

            So is liberalism,communism and open border progressive diversity

        • Zee Z.
          Zee Z.  3 weeks back

          Why do they say 3 different ethnic groups? Ethnic groups has more to do with genetic composition not religion. To me, they're genetically the same but just adopted different religions

          • Kenan Bajrić
            Kenan Bajrić  3 weeks back

            Stick to your own backyard don't comment something that you don't understand

        • Aboleo80
          Aboleo80  4 weeks back

          This is not first video where Deutsche Welle uses the term "Bosnian Muslim" when they speak of Bosniaks. If you are going to say Bosnian muslims then continue saying bosnian catholics and orthodox christians as well instead of using a religious term for some people and the ethnic term for the others.

          • Hillers62
            Hillers62  4 weeks back

            I lived in Sarajevo, Bosnia for half a year...There is so much hate between the three ethnic groups...but I cannot understand the hatred for an innocent person...she is not guilty of anything...she is a victim...the country is very backwards in the way that most of the Western World thinks today...this would be unthinkable in America...Bosnia is mostly Muslim...thus their backwards thinking...sve se to mora promijeniti!!!!!!

            • Kenboss55
              Kenboss55  4 weeks back

              We blame the USA who made a Deyton Aagreement which only makes thinghs worse.
              They could have maid a normal agreement for entire country but they made entities and 3 nationalistic presidensts and their nationalistic parties which only divide people even more.This country only needs suppoer for another constitution and better human rights.with their resourses it can bee a very wealthy country in Europe.

            • Kenan Bajrić
              Kenan Bajrić  4 weeks back

              O yes Bosnia is backward only because of muslims funny how those progressive Serbs commited 90% of all war rapes and 80% of all war civilian casualties were Bosniaks but i guess muslims are still to blame for everything.

          • Why me?
            Why me?  4 weeks back

            Serbia strong

            • Owen Chua
              Owen Chua  1 months back

              They're also people who can change. Regardless of race

              • Exo's proud mama bear
                Exo's proud mama bear  1 months back

                This is the most ridiculous thing I ever seen so single mother's children can't take student loans? What kind of bullshit is this? They are the ones who need aid most how can government just abandon them like that?

                • Exo's proud mama bear
                  Exo's proud mama bear  4 weeks back

                  @Kenboss55 Well if you think America was the one who wanted Yugoslavia to be gone so it made sure to make it into a war, it is normal that they separated the nations. But this law has nothing to do with it or your country's wealth. The government purposely abandoning single mothers and rape victims.

                • Kenboss55
                  Kenboss55  4 weeks back

                  We blame the USA who made a Deyton Aagreement which only makes thinghs worse.
                  They could have maid a normal agreement for entire country but they made entities and 3 nationalistic presidensts and their nationalistic parties which only divide people even more.This country only needs support for another constitution and better human rights.Bosnia With their resourses can bee a very wealthy country in Europe.

              • Mihai Galea
                Mihai Galea  1 months back

                another documentary based on the opinion of a minority of less than 1% of the country's population? or is it 0.7% like LGBTQ in the US... cmon man wtf stop making this type of discourse, yes there were tragedies during the war and afterwards but having people feeling ashamed of what their fathers and grandfathers did is wrong, educate them but don't make them feel ashamed, those things happened for a reason, find out what that reason was and educate people. This perspective only creates bias

                • Woodhouse
                  Woodhouse  3 weeks back

                  ofcours you should feel ashamed. Nothing can justify what has happened and the coming generations should never take pride for warcrimes and should do what ever they can so such things never happen again.

              • Brian Dumas
                Brian Dumas  1 months back

                Uh, If alot of these people in this film keep sucking down those cancer sticks like theirs no tomorrow they aren"t make it to 50 before they die of lung cancer.

                • skip tik
                  skip tik  1 months back

                  20:30 why my eyes r tearing

                  • Elle May
                    Elle May  1 months back

                    100% equil rights but war victim.. no - you mother was/is but not you.

                    • Marcos Adrian Linares
                      Marcos Adrian Linares  1 months back

                      I jus't can't believe that people can be so cruel with something like this. Makes me really sad. My sincere respect to all the victims of this atrocity.

                      • ursacubej
                        ursacubej  1 months back

                        Tough lives these children have and the love of these mothers is stronger than any hatered there has ever been! These children are the first group of individuals who will break the inrerracial hatered in that BiH! There is no other hope for the future than these children! But they do need support. Hope this documentary spreads like a virus, to help get the support you guys need. R. E. S. P. E. C. T. i puno ljubavi vam šaljem 💞💟🙌

                        • Mixer Trixter
                          Mixer Trixter  1 months back

                          they will feel the jihad boot on their dead body

                          • Harun Bajramović
                            Harun Bajramović  1 months back

                            Im a Bosnian.Feel free to ask me anything!

                            • Kate XY
                              Kate XY  1 months back

                              I'm a Bosnian, and I did a summer program in Višegrad few years ago. It was about transitional justice and we got to hear personal stories. We met up with prominent figures in the city: a man for each nationality. They did not agree upon anything about the war, except for one thing. They talked about a woman that was seeking for justice publicly for being raped, because nobody was ever convicted. Višegrad still has a hotel that has kept furniture on which women were raped, and were held prisoners in the hotel. When we asked about more information regarding that, they kept avoding the topic saying how "everybody was murdered at some point" and "everybody has suffered, and now these women talk about these sensitive issues in public, which can only cause more problems". I found it interesting how they liked to brag about and discuss everything, but when it came to women, they preferred to keep silent or say such demeaning and underwhelming things.
                              It's heartbreaking, really, to be a person that has met two women that survived concentration camps- the women that can't have children today anymore because of the torture they survived. And they never sued anybody. Just like the majority of women. Honor is a big thing in the Balkans still, and for a woman to admit she was raped... many of them don't even tell their husbands, families... it's shameful and people are more afraid of what others will say.

                              • Cough Fee
                                Cough Fee  1 months back

                                My mother was born in SFRJ (Yugoslavia) in the 1950's. Her birth certificate doesn't list a father; just a note that she was a child born out of wedlock. If listing both parents wasn't a requirement back then...why was it required now?

                                Also, if the victim is fully aware of the name and whereabouts of the war criminal, why isn't justice being pursued? The rapists do not deserve to live a life of normality; they need to have their world torn apart and suffer the pain that these young victims endured.

                                • Kenan Bajrić
                                  Kenan Bajrić  1 months back

                                  In Banja Luka there are streets,school and park named after convicted war criminals:

                                  Momir Nikolić street ( 20 years)
                                  Biljana Plavšić street (11 years)
                                  Stanislav Galić street (life sentence)
                                  Radoslav Krstić street ( 35 years) Ljubomir Borovčanin park ( 17 years
                                  Momčilo Krajišnik high school
                                  (20 years)
                                  Gimnastic club Duško Tadić (20 years)
                                  Scout club “Radoslav Brđanin”
                                  30 years)

                                  You really think they care about this crime? Also in Višegrad(republic of Srpska) there is a statue of Dragoljub Mihajlović a convicted German and Italian colaborator in ww2 and leader of the Chetniks who were and still are infamous among Bosniaks and Croats

                              • Christian
                                Christian  1 months back

                                Ok ok everyone agrees it’s not the victim’s fault but it looks like these people are mostly looking for various financial benefits from the state... well while I’m sorry for their misfortune I would not be willing to pay them all sorts of benefits if I were a Bosnian taxpayer.

                                • Tiramisu Desu
                                  Tiramisu Desu  1 months back

                                  These villagers and people who think like them must think highly of themselves just because they did not face the same ravages these women and their children did. I can only hope they will face the same tragedy so that they could experience firsthand what it's like to be on the other end of the same judgement. They're no different from the people who I used to go to church with. Women and men gossiping here and there and when you face they flash their practiced empathetic face and fake smile at you.

                                  • Niccole Hoody
                                    Niccole Hoody  1 months back

                                    Being is horrible don't matter if u a child ,teen, grown up or older person ,male or female no one should every go thought or feel shame

                                    • Hindu Nationalist
                                      Hindu Nationalist  1 months back

                                      What do Bosnian people think of Albanians?

                                      • Kenan Bajrić
                                        Kenan Bajrić  1 months back

                                        @Hindu Nationalist Turkey is only loved by religious Bosniaks and Albanians the rest don't care about them as a non practicing muslim Bosniak the only people in Turkey i consider brothers by blood is muslim Slavs who immigrated in the 18,19 and 20 century.

                                      • Hindu Nationalist
                                        Hindu Nationalist  1 months back

                                        same with Turkey?

                                      • Kenan Bajrić
                                        Kenan Bajrić  1 months back

                                        Nobody hates them plus Albanians and Bosniaks were never close on a brotherhood level.

                                    • Mish Mash
                                      Mish Mash  1 months back

                                      He is a true definition of a MAN! If everyone in the world were like him, the world would be a happier place to live in.

                                      • gaykid80
                                        gaykid80  1 months back

                                        The adoptive father is the kind of human being we need more in this world. He’s got a bigger heart than the mom in my humble opinion.

                                        • Jenny Hughes
                                          Jenny Hughes  1 months back

                                          This is so very shocking, that the victims should be then further victimised is so cruel. It sounds like the law protects them (not having to give father's name) but that the state/s don't know this - it is their duty to know plus be compassionate! I send my best wishes to all who have suffered & continue to suffer from these crimes.

                                          • Mertcan Pekcay
                                            Mertcan Pekcay  1 months back

                                            I've been to Bosnia twice, and whoever I met was a nice human being. This is an amazing documentary that reminds us how dignity and character look like. Much respect from Istanbul, to all the victims of the unjust war.

                                            • Miming Maretdianti
                                              Miming Maretdianti  1 months back

                                              I know that, black tragedy, for bosnian and also islamic world.

                                              But now, it's time yo forgive .

                                              May Allah bless you ajna, nusret, ,ajna's mother and bosnian

                                              • {}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}
                                                {}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}  1 months back

                                                so sad ..

                                                • Jasmina Van de wyck
                                                  Jasmina Van de wyck  1 months back

                                                  I think it’s great you are making a difference. Don’t let anything get you down.

                                                  • DOOM667
                                                    DOOM667  1 months back

                                                    not the childrens fault.

                                                    • Queenbee Dat
                                                      Queenbee Dat  1 months back

                                                      This story broke my heart. How could this happen today? How ignorant are some of the villagers and politicians? This is shocking. The karma alone they will face as a nation will be overwhelming.🙁 God please help these children. Please help them get the care and love they need and change the hearts and minds of people who don't understand what these children are going through. Amen ❤️

                                                      • Caesar88888
                                                        Caesar88888  1 months back

                                                        Ajna looks like a boy and her nose was definetely broken

                                                        • Nita Rae
                                                          Nita Rae  1 months back

                                                          The Translating Is Way Off!!

                                                          • europski kaktus
                                                            europski kaktus  1 months back

                                                            I am also very annoyed how the rest of the world doesnt know about BiH and Croatia. How intelligent and ready to work we are. How our politicians are destroying our countries,after they've gone trough so much. We still need help...because we deserve more. Here,a single mother with two collage diplomas can often find herself alone with a kid,and without a full fridge. You can work as a teacher and live like an idiot. Know 3 languages and still nothing. So young people do illegal stuff to get money,because academic knowlege isnt worthy anymore (even tho we have a strict school system and we're mostly very educated) Brain drain is at its peak. And I want to film a movie,a good fucking movie. But I dont have a fucking laptop so I could edit sound/the visual part. Literaly tells you everything.

                                                            • europski kaktus
                                                              europski kaktus  1 months back

                                                              Nice how somebody talks about this now. Nobody cared when it was happening🙃

                                                              • Long Beach Coin Laundry
                                                                Long Beach Coin Laundry  1 months back

                                                                Why in gods name would u attack victims of rape. Maybe the attackers should be raped to know how it feels to be a victim.

                                                                • Sunshine S
                                                                  Sunshine S  1 months back

                                                                  SubhanAllaah! May Allah help us, protect us and guides to straight path! Ameen

                                                                  • Sony Black
                                                                    Sony Black  1 months back

                                                                    I never heard the term invisible children

                                                                    • Ilisabel Paganrivera
                                                                      Ilisabel Paganrivera  1 months back

                                                                      Such brutal and destuctive experience, wars. Thanks to the loving begins that cared for the children and raised them, regardless of social and political discrimination. .

                                                                      • El Ricko Jãmes
                                                                        El Ricko Jãmes  2 months back

                                                                        Why is Allen translated into german and not English at around 08:30?

                                                                        • El Ricko Jãmes
                                                                          El Ricko Jãmes  1 months back

                                                                          @DW Documentary And no, turning on the subtitles and have it on english will not translate correctly, I already tried.

                                                                          Thanks again for this very interesting segment, I hope you keep up the good quality of work.


                                                                        • El Ricko Jãmes
                                                                          El Ricko Jãmes  1 months back

                                                                          @DW Documentary Cool, it was incredibly intersting. Is there anyway to translate everything to english or have subtitles so I can understand what they where saying?

                                                                        • DW Documentary
                                                                          DW Documentary   1 months back

                                                                          ...because it was done for a German broadcaster first

                                                                      • El Ricko Jãmes
                                                                        El Ricko Jãmes  2 months back

                                                                        I am a man, but I have to say that Ainas father, I think the spelling is Nusrat(?) is just amazing, that is a really good person right there.

                                                                        • Tony Faxton
                                                                          Tony Faxton  2 months back

                                                                          I just wanted to say thank you to all those great men and family who took the orphans and women into their home and family. I can't even imagine the kind of financial stress and make a little more room for those who needed home and love, it's just amazing. Thank you

                                                                          • Tony Faxton
                                                                            Tony Faxton  2 months back

                                                                            Japanese soldiers did exactly the same to Korean, Chinese and South East Asian women. Japan instead of apologizing turned around said these women were prostitutes. We are talking government officials of Japan calling those women who were raped, abused and had to live in shame for their life, a whore and prostitution. Sometimes, I just don't get it. Why is it so hard to say sorry and move on. It takes a greater mind and man to step forward and accept the responsibility. And obviously those Bosnian people who leave such horrible commentary on Facebook toward those women who suffered, are true pathetic creatures.

                                                                            • jetblackhair92
                                                                              jetblackhair92  2 months back

                                                                              Beautiful country

                                                                              • Yolanda Lee
                                                                                Yolanda Lee  2 months back

                                                                                God bless!

                                                                                • Stephen Stone
                                                                                  Stephen Stone  2 months back

                                                                                  This is about changing minds. Division, separation, us and them, thinking is going to change. It WILL change. One mind, one heart at a time. I have hope.