News 29 Apr 14

Yugoslav Post-WWII Jail Camp Prisoners Named

The names of people imprisoned at a notorious detention camp on the Croatian island of Goli Otok were published online as part of an exhibition aimed at exposing Communist crimes.

Marija Ristic
BIRN
Belgrade
The Goli Otok prison camp.

An alphabetical list of 16,500 names of people who were jailed at the Goli Otok detention camp after World War II is now available for online search on the website of the exhibition ‘In the Name of the People’, which opened earlier this month in Belgrade.

It is the first attempt to gather all the names of those who were detained after WWII and sent to Goli Otok by the Communist Party in Yugoslavia because of their political and ideological beliefs, which the country’s leadership considered harmful to the state.

“The list was created on the basis of documents from various [Yugoslav] secret services. We as researchers had access to those documents, managed to decode the documents and this search-optimised list is the result,” historian Srdjan Cvetkovic, the creator of the exhibition, told BIRN.

In 1949, Goli Otok, an abandoned island in Croatia, was transformed into a high-security clandestine prison and labour camp, where mainly political prisoners were forced to work and were regularly tortured by the guards.

At the beginning of the 1960s, the authorities started to use Goli Otok not just for the imprisonment of political opponents, but also as a regular prison for criminals and serious young offenders.

The prison was run by the authorities of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia until 1988 when it was shut down.

Last year, Croatian online portal noviplamen.hr published a list of prisoners obtained from the Croatian state archive, in which it says that the majority of the prisoners, 44 per cent, were Serbs, while 21 per cent were Montenegrins and 16 per cent were Croats.

After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia offered reparations to survivors of the camp.

The multimedia exhibition ‘In the Name of the People’, which is open in Belgrade until August 31, documents various types of ideologically-motivated crimes committed by the Communists in Yugoslavia - revolutionary terror in Serbia, political trials and concentration camps, collectivisation and repression.

It is also displaying material about various other Yugoslav prison camps as well as Goli Otok.

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