From Ruins to Renewal: The Inspiring Story of a Nurse who Survived Vukovar Hospital

Vukovar, a city in Croatia that was the site of intense fighting during the Bosnian War in 1991, has been freed from the siege that held it for three months. Smilja Petričević, a nurse who worked at the hospital during the siege, recounted her experiences to N1. She described how she took care of wounded soldiers and helped them receive medical care. She also spoke about how unimaginable it was to work in conditions without water, but how firefighters provided them with half a liter of water each for drinking and bathing. Despite these difficulties, life went on during those three months, even within the hospital grounds.

Sister Smilja also recalled working at the hospital during the siege and how she cared for children born there. She said that some help came from outside sources and that life went on despite the challenging conditions. Siniša Glavašević, a schoolmate of Smilja’s who was taken to Ovčara with many others, is also remembered by her as one of those whose lives were affected by the war.

Smilja returned to Vukovar in 2000 after being in exile in Zagreb and finishing college. When she returned to her hometown, she found it unrecognizable due to its destruction caused by war. However, she noted that Vukovar is now even more beautiful than before and that it is nice to live there once again.

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