Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken

Dutch Diplo Talk

‘He died for peace’. Remembering Private Broere (1974 -1995)

14 Apr 2015

Ambassador Kraak (Sarajevo)

On Sunday, 29 March, Netherlands Defense Attaché Lt-Col. Robbert Verbrugh and I were invited by president of the community of Jajici, Mr Fahrudin Hamzic, and by the Mayor of Kalesija, Mr Dzafic Nedzad, to be present at the unveiling of a memorial stone on the spot where a Dutch soldier was killed. Private Jeffrey Broere died while serving with UNPROFOR near an observation post in the contested area between Tuzla and Zvornik, exactly 20 years ago.

Erecting a stone to remember this young soldier was the idea of the inhabitants of the small village of Jajici and was supported by Kalesija municipality. Jeffrey Broere (born in Gouda on 1st April 1974) served with the Dutch contingent of UNPROFOR. His unit, A Company of 13 Infantry Battalion Airmobile, was on duty near the demarcation zone between Bosniak and Bosnian Serb forces in the so-called ’Sapna Finger’. From observation posts, such as the one in Jajici, and by patrolling, troop movements were monitored and reported to Sector HQ at Tuzla.

On 29 March, 1995 Observation Post Tango 2 was hit by mortar rounds, in all probability, fired from Bosnian-Serb positions. Jeffrey Broere was severely injured and died of his wounds on his way to hospital in Tuzla, two days short of his 21st birthday.

In this village in the hills above Kalesija one has an unobstructed view of the Spreca valley, the strategically important mountain Vis and on the former Eagle Air Base. In front of the house, where Broere’ s unit manned the observation post, a simple white stone has been placed.

I had the honor to unveil this small, but meaningful monument, together with the mayor of Kalesija. Those present spoke with great emphasis of the lasting positive impression that the Dutch soldiers had made. According to the mayor and community president Hamzic, the Dutch units who served in the area were genuinely interested in the welfare of the local population. Not only in an immaterial, but also in a practical sense: their willingness, for example, to put their medical services at the disposal of the villagers was mentioned several times.

It was a modest, but dignified ceremony, attended by most of the villagers. It made clear that the death in their midst of a young soldier from a country far away has made quite an impact and has not been forgotten.

The Netherlands Government, as represented by Lt.-Col. Verbrugh and me, is profoundly grateful for this gesture by the citizens of Jajici and Kalesija in remembrance for the sacrifice young Jeffrey Broere made to the international efforts to restore peace in former Yugoslavia.

On the stone is written in Dutch: ‘Hij Stierf Voor De Vrede’.

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About the author

Jurriaan Kraak
Written by Jurriaan Kraak

Dutch ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina

Jurriaan Kraak was born on 24 August 1951 in Jakarta (Indonesia). He started his diplomatic career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1978. After postings to Mexico and Canada, he worked for twelve years in Brussels at the Netherlands Permanent Representations to the European Union and to NATO. Between 1991 and 1995 he was seconded to the Royal Household as Private Secretary of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix and HRH Prince Claus of The Netherlands and of HRH the Prince of Orange. Prior to his posting in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he was Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Latvia. He is married and has two children.