How I survived a year of SHTF in 90s Bosnia

No electricity, no food, no running water, no law. In a now legendary forum thread, a user named Selco tells preppers about his experiences and what he and his family did to stay alive.

November 6, 2014

In September of 2011, a user named selco joined the forums at and posted “my shtf expirience-wartime,” a thread that would since become legendary in survivalist communities and beyond — in fact, you frequently see people reference it to this day in communities like 4chan and reddit. In it, Selco details his experience of living in a besieged Bosnian town of 50 to 60k people during the Bosnian War (1992-1995). The siege took away everything modern humans take for granted and tested with extreme brutality Selco’s and his community’s ability to survive.

But what is so interesting about this war story is that it was told to a group of survivalists (preppers) who had questions — lots of questions. How does barter work and which survival strategies are worthless bunk? How were the social dynamics when everyone realized there was no law? What really happens and what kind of tricks do people actually get up to to get by when faced with, essentially, the apocalypse?

Selco’s first post:

Things that make differences between people are more and more problematic (race, religion, political opinion).

Polarization is getting obviously stronger.

People want to come to your country, but they do not want to “assimilate” or contribute to the greater good. They want to preserve their way of life which is often absolutely contradictory to the way that your country (society) works.

The political way of solving those problems often fails, because, in essence, those problems are hard to solve in a democratic way (in the spirit of democracy).

Your freedoms are “shrinking” as a result of that.

Calls for “radical solutions“ for the problems are stronger and stronger.

The media is absolutely working a dirty job, and it is hard to find out what is the truth anymore.

Suddenly people and events from history are “brought back” so people can judge and argue about it, to write history again, to build myths sometimes.

Q: Anything else to add?

I have seen many people killed, a lot of women and children too, civilians. A huge number of people suffered, were hungry and cold and were terrified through that period.

But I can count on one hand the dead or hungry politicians in that time.

Things were good for them through that period. Some of them ended up even richer. A lot of them are still powerful in the same or different parties, and are still talking about “their people” or “ causes” or “fear from others”.

It is the way it works.