Saturday, 26 May 2012

Goli otok, Croatia

More seaside views... This time from Croatia, sent my the lovely Nives last year. Yeah, I'm really behind with this blog - I have TONS of postcards I want to post about here!

Goli otok is an island off the northern Adriatic coast, located between Rab's northeastern shore and the mainland, in what is today Croatia's Primorje-Gorski Kotar county. The island is barren and uninhabited. Its northern shore is almost completely bare, while the southern one has small amounts of vegetation as well as a number of coves.

Despite having long been an occasional grazing ground for local shepherds' flocks, the barren island was apparently never permanently settled other than during the 20th century. Throughout World War I, Austria-Hungary sent Russian prisoners of war from Eastern Front to Goli otok.

In 1949, the entire island was officially made into a high-security, top secret prison and labor camp run by the authorities of FPR Yugoslavia, together with the nearby Sveti Grgur island, which held a similar camp for female prisoners. Until 1956, throughout the Informbiro period, it was used to incarcerate political prisoners. These included known and alleged Stalinists, but also other Communist Party members or even nonparty citizens accused of exhibiting sympathy or leanings towards the Soviet Union. Many anticommunist (Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Albanian and other nationalists etc.) were also incarcerated on Goli Otok. Non-political prisoners were also sent to the island to serve out simple criminal sentences and some of them were sentenced to death. Numbers of total prisoners and massacred victims are unknown but Vladimir Dedijer estimates 32,000 male prisoners in Goli otok only; other historians estimates 4,000 killed.

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