Kurt Schork (January 24, 1947 – May 24, 2000) was an American reporter and war correspondent. He was killed in an ambush while on an assignment for Reuters in Sierra Leone together with cameraman Miguel Gil Moreno de Mora of Spain, who worked for Associated Press Television. Two other Reuters journalists, South African cameraman Mark Chisholm and Greek photographer Yannis Behrakis were injured in the attack in which Schork died.
Kurt Schork was born in Washington, D.C.. He graduated from Jamestown College in 1969, and studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar later that year—the same time as future United States President Bill Clinton. Schork worked as a property developer, a political adviser, and then chief of staff for the New York City Transit Authority before becoming a journalist.
He filed the story Romeo and Juliet in Sarajevo, about a young couple, Boško Brkic and Admira Ismic, an Eastern Orthodox Bosnian Serb and Muslim Bosniak girl killed during the Siege of Sarajevo. Admira's and Boško's relationship defied the ethnic hatred which followed the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. After being shot and killed by a sniper while attempting to flee the area, their bodies remained unreachable on a bridge in no man's land for eight days as the war raged on. They became known as Romeo and Juliet as the story of their unshakable love emerged. Before they made the decision to flee, as Boško was wanted by the police (due to his ethnic background), the young couple were serving as surrogate parents to the young sons of Admira's cousin, Brana, who was killed in Sarajevo by a 60-millimeter shell while putting her sons to sleep. Boško's decision to flee with Admira was influenced by the fact that his grandfather was summoned in Croatia to a police station by pro-Hitler Fascists during World War II and never seen again.
Kurt Schork Dispatch From Sarajevo
The original dispatch by Kurt Schork telling the moving story of Romeo and Juliet in Sarajevo.
After Schork died, as per his personal wishes, upon cremation half of his ashes was buried next to his mother in Washington, D.C., and half at "Groblje LAV" (The Lion Cemetery) in Sarajevo, next to the grave of Boško and Admira, the central figures in Schork's acclaimed story.
Mr. Schork has been memorialized posthumously in: the dedication of Kurt Schork Street in Sarajevo, and citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina: in the dedication of the Kurt Schork newsroom at Jamestown College, his alma mater; and in the documentary Romeo and Juliet in Sarajevo.
Kurt Schork Memorial Fund and Awards
The goal of the Kurt Schork Memorial Fund and Awards recognizes and assist freelance and local journalists who make a critical contribution to international understanding but whose work is often overlooked. The awards include two cash prizes of $5,000 each to provide some financial support to help the winners continue reporting. Though local journalists in the developing world take extraordinary risks to expose corruption and injustice in their countries, they rarely earn enough money to support themselves and their families. Similarly, freelancers live from job to job, never knowing when the next assignment will come, where it may lead or how long it will last. With these awards, the Fund spotlights the plight and achievements of both.
- "Twenty Years On: The Unfinished Lives Of Bosnia’s Romeo And Juliet". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty.
- "CNN - 'Only a bullet' could separate them - Apr. 10, 1996". cnn.com.
- Video on YouTube
- Entropy Media. "FRONTLINE: previous reports: transcripts: romeo and juliet in sarajevo - PBS". pbs.org.
- "Schork’s best piece from siege of Sarajevo". ksmemorial.com.
- "BBC News - EUROPE - Kurt Schork buried in Sarajevo". bbc.co.uk.
- Video on YouTube
- "Kurt Schork Memorial Fund". ksmfund.org.