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“The most we can hope for is that the police will guard the museum from potential thieves,” he added.

Busuladzic insists that the closing of the museum will not be a “grand gesture” by its employees, but a “tragic outcome of years of neglect of its immense treasure”.

Among other things, the National Museum’s collection includes the Sarajevo Haggadah, an illuminated manuscript brought to Bosnia by a Jewish family expelled from Spain during the Inquisition and saved from Hitler’s forces during World War II by the museum’s then director, a Catholic Croat, and a Muslim Bosniak family.

Earlier this week, the heating in Bosnia’s Historical Museum was cut off and its doors closed to the public. Despite not having received salaries for the past six months, its employees still come to work to try to shield its 400,000 historical artifacts from the elements.

Employees are preparing to close the National Library on Friday with heavy hearts.

“We are in an extremely difficult situation. There is no way out, we have no hope,” said the deputy director of the National Library, Bedita Islamovic.

Islamovic lamented that Bosnia had become “the world’s only country which does not care for its national treasures.”