Mustafa Kurić was a shoemaker. He was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1935, but moved to Slovenia when he was 20. After living there for over 35 years, he had his residency status automatically withdrawn on 26 February 1992 – along with 25,671 other people.
After Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, citizens of other former Yugolsav republics living in the country were given a deadline to acquire Slovenian citizenship. According to Mr Kurić, he was in hospital at the time and could not make the application. Those who failed to get citizenship automatically lost their “permanently resident” status – without being notified.
Suddenly, the “erased” became foreign citizens or stateless people living illegally in Slovenia. Many had their papers taken away, were evicted from apartments, could not work or travel, lost personal possessions or lived in poor conditions.
Compared to many people, Mustafa Kurić was lucky as local police allowed him to remain in the country – though he had to stay in his local community, and he was refused a pension in old age.