Goli otok – behind the Iron curtain

A pile of non-useful shots of rusty metal and stones 🙂

Liberal as it was, the communist regime in Yugoslavia was still an authoritarian regime and Goli Otok was most notorious prison – its only true gulag.

Barren islet, almost completely devoid of vegetation was originally used as a prison by Austro-Hungarian authorities during WWI as a place of internment of Russian prisoners of war.

“Moral correction” was the professed goal of the prison. A process which took the form of hard labor in a quarry, conducted in the harsh climate of the rocky island Hot and shadeless in summer; icy cold and windy in winter. Mental torture conducted by guards as well as physical torture conducted by both guards and other inmates become a hallmark of the prison.

The majority of convicts were Stalinist communists, the people who remained loyal to Soviet Union, many intellectuals or quasi-intellectuals with a good dose of petty criminals sprinkled among them.

With the death of Stalin the relations between the USSR and Yugoslavia improved. Goli Otok prison was transferred from the federal jurisdiction to local government of Croatia. The need for a special prison for political dissidents disappeared, however the facility remained in use as an ordinary jail. It was finally shut down in 1988.

Only island habitants are sheeps

Today, the memory of Goli Otok remains deeply embedded in minds of the generations which grew up in communist Yugoslavia.

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