A blue and white striped bag with white handles - at first glance an inconspicuous beach bag. But it tells the moving story of the then 33-year-old Edina Rizvanović's flight from what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina to Ulm.
The blue and white striped bag is a gift from Edina's husband. He has brought it back to 
srp. Приједор, deu. Prijedor

Prijedor (Serbian: Приједор) is a city in the entity Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is populated by about 90,000 people and is located in the north of the country in the Bosanska Krajina region.

srp. Југославија, hrv. Jugoslavija, deu. Jugoslawien, slv. Jugoslavija, sqi. Jugosllavia

Yugoslavia was a southeastern European state that existed, with interruptions and in slightly changing borders, from 1918 to 1992 and 2003, respectively. The capital and largest city of the country was Belgrade. Historically, a distinction is made in particular between the period of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia from 1918 to 1941 (also called 'First Yugoslavia') and communist Yugoslavia from 1945 (the so-called 'Second Yugoslavia') under the dictatorial ruling head of state Josip Broz Tito (1892-1980). The disintegration of Yugoslavia from 1991 and the independence aspirations of several parts of the country eventually led to the Yugoslav Wars (also called the Balkan Wars or post-Yugoslav Wars). Today, the successor states of Yugoslavia are Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

, now
Bosnia and Herzegovina
srp. Босна и Херцеговина, srp. Bosna i Hercegovina, bos. Bosna i Hercegovina, hrv. Bosna i Hercegovina, eng. Bosnia–Herzegovina, deu. Bosnien und Herzegowina

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a federal state in South-Eastern Europe. The country is inhabited by 3.3 million people and is composed of the political entities Republika Srpska, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Brčko District. Bosnia and Herzegovina's capital is Sarajevo. The country is considered part of the Balkan Peninsula and borders the Adriatic Sea. Bosnians are the main population group, along with Serbs and Croats.

) from a business trip in Austria – a beach bag for a vacation by the sea. But then everything changes: various groups are pushing for independence and, as a result, war breaks out in Yugoslavia in 1991. Instead of going on vacation, Edina has to flee with her two sons. She has to leave her husband behind; only women and children are allowed to leave.
On her escape, Edina chooses not to take a suitcase with her, but opts for her beach bag, because she can sling it over her shoulder and has her hands free for her two sons. The beach bag is not big – just 50cm by 35cm – but it contains everything Edina can take with her from her life in Bosnia. A sense of loss looms over everything: the loss of material possessions associated with precious memories, the loss of her homeland where Edina has spent so many happy years, and the uncertainty of whether she will ever return. 
Paramilitaries, who come heavily armed to the bus that is to take Edina and the others away from the city, take money and valuables from the fugitives. But the contents of Edina's beach bag are apparently of no interest to them; all they see is a children's book, a child's blanket and diapers. But there are 50 German Marks stashed between the pages of the book, another 50 have been sewn into the hem of the children's blanket, and Edina has hidden her purse inside a diaper. By bus, full of crying children and women, Edina and her sons travel from Prijedor (Bosnia and Herzegovina) to 
Novi Sad
deu. Neusatz, hun. Újvidék, srp. Нови Сад, slk. Nový Sad

Novi Sad (German: Neusatz) is a large city in the north of Serbia. The city is home to 230,000 people, making Novi Sad the country's second largest city. It is the capital of the Vojvodina region and is located at the mouth of the Little Batschka Canal into the Danube.

 (Serbia). Amidst a flurry of insults and abuse from onlookers, they manage to leave the bus there and take the train via
hun. Magyarország, deu. Ungarn

Hungary is a country in Central Europe, whose capital is Budapest. The country is home to about 10 million people and was part of the so-called Habsburg Empire for several centuries. Hungary has been a member of the European Union since 01.05.2004. The Danube is the largest river in the country.

deu. Österreich

Austria is a country in Central Europe populated by about 8.9 million people. The capital of the country is Vienna.

There, Edina's escape comes to an abrupt end: the police escort her and her two sons off the train, because they do not have a visa for Germany. After a few days, Edina once again slings her beach bag back onto her shoulders, takes her sons by the hand and sets off again for Germany. Edina and her sons cry the whole way, because they are afraid for their husband and father. When they arrive in Ulm, they have to wait six months until he can finally join them. Since then they have been inseparable.
Ulm becomes the new home of Edina and her family. But in the beginning it is hard for everyone, very hard. Edina and her husband work from day one, even though neither of them speaks German yet. Their two sons take advantage of the opportunity to get a good high-school diploma and today both have graduated from university. Edina has held onto her beach bag for all these years. For her, it is like her most loyal friend, accompanying her on the run and through very difficult times and it is still with her now, in the good times. Finally, the blue and white striped bag can serve as a beach bag when Edina takes trips to the banks of the Danube with her husband, her two sons, her daughters-in-law and her granddaughter.
The story of Edina's beach bag is part of the (exhibition) project "Suitcase Stories. Migration connects" at the Danube Swabian Central Museum – a project of the International DZM Forum "Migration connects ".
English translation: William Connor