Boy with matches
Patient and precise, he made metal fences, towers and other objects from matches, and he also learned to play the accordion.
Ivan Burazer was born in Zagreb, to his mother Dragica and father Ante. He spent his childhood playing and having fun with his younger sister Marija. He finished primary and secondary metal school in Zagreb, and was a turner by profession, employed at "Jedinstva".
This versatile young man was calm and withdrawn, devoted to his parents, but at the same time patient and precise. He was extremely creative and interested in different things. He loved music, so he learned to play the accordion. He made unusual and beautiful metal fences, and one of his favorite things was matches.
He made towers, houses, different objects and shapes from matches. Everything he imagined, Ivan knew how to make with the help of a little glue, an unusual construction tool and his vivid imagination. But then came the war.
On the feast of St. Lucia, the saint who heralds the great light of Christmas night, a twenty-year-old young man joined the 101st brigade of the Susedgrad HV.
Instead of waiting for Christmas with his family, sowing wheat and lighting an Advent candle in his home in Zagreb, this brave young man went into the unknown. He went to fight on the Eastern Slavonic battlefield, where it was the most difficult.
The time before Christmas was not a time of light for the young men on the battlefield. In the darkness and cold of the trenches, their only light was hope. Hope that they will return to a warm home and hope for the Freedom of the Croatian people.
Ivan did not return home that Christmas. A young man from Zagreb, a boy with matches, died on Christmas Day, December 25, 1991, on the front line in Vladislavci near Osijek.
In some of our regions, Christmas is congratulated through a beautiful expression - mirbožati se. People wish God's peace on Christmas. Ivan did not meet him, but he gave his life for him.
The only gift we can give Ivan this Christmas is - memory. The carpenter's child became the Savior of mankind, and humble Croatian young men like Ivan - sellers, drivers, turners - were the Liberators of the Croatian people.
Therefore, let's preserve their destinies, share their stories and thank them for bringing us peace for this and all other Christmases.