Dejan Lovren spoke openly for Liverpool club television for the first time in his life about a hard childhood and all the horrors his family went through during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Croatian defender was only three when he was forced to flee with his family to Germany, describing the fear in detail for a documentary titled “My Refugee Life”
“I wish I could tell the whole story, describe everything that happened then. You’ve heard many stories, but no one knows the real truth,” began Lovren describing the events, as Jutarnji List reported on February 9, 2017.
“Everything changed overnight – everyone was at war with everyone, there were three sides. People changed completely, we heard various stories over the radio and television. I remember the wail of sirens. I was very frightened of a bomb falling on us. I remember our mother taking us to the basement. Who knows how long we were down there…”
Lovren’s family lived in Kraljeva Sutjeska village, but soon had to flee to Zenica.
“We arrived in a Yugo to Zenica. It was a bigger town so it was attacked more. But, the real horror was in the villages where people were killed in the most gruesome ways. One of my uncles was slaughtered with a knife in front of others. I never spoke to my other uncle about it, it’s simply too hard a topic…”
Before the war the Lovrens lived a peaceful life.
“Honestly, we had it all. And no problems with anyone. We were friends with the Serbs and the Muslims. We really enjoyed life and then it all began…”
It was lucky Lovren ad a grandfather who lived in Germany.
“The trip to Munich took 17 hours. We were very lucky, grandfather had all the papers and we could move there. If we hadn’t who knows what would have happened. My whole family might have ended up in the ground…”
He spent seven years in Germany.
“Then they told us we had to go. My parents tried their best for us to stay, but every six months we were rejected. They told us the war was over and that we had to go back home. We felt horrible, our bags were constantly packed.”
In the end the German authorities told them they had two month to leave the state.
“A horrible feeling, all my friends were in Germany. I Played in a small club, the coach was my father. I enjoyed it, it was nice. Germany was my second home, when it was toughest, they took us in with open arms.”
Lovren remembered the move to Karlovac where his peers mocked him for years for his German accent.
“My parents had large money problems. My mom worked in a store, my father was a house-painter. We barely made ends meet, couldn’t pay the bills. We had to sell things, I remember being mad when father told me he sold my skates for 350 kuna…”
Lovren, naturally, doesn’t have such problems today. Still, he hasn’t forgotten his past.
“It is as if the war was yesterday. It’s a sensitive subject, I find it hard to talk about. Mother asked me not to talk about it on TV, but I told her I had to. My children today live in a completely different world and I am not certain they will ever understand what I went through. Scenes going on in the world today remind of my childhood. I understand people who want to feel safer, but they must also understand that other people have nothing, their homes are gone, not by their mistake. So my message is – give refugees a chance, those people deserve to live in peace and freedom.”