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Zadnje ažuriranje: 31.03.2011
Facts about Goli Otok (Naked Island)

Association of Goli otok


Goli otok (/Naked Island, Nackte Insel, I'ile nue, Isola Calva, Csupasz sziget) has today a threefold meaning: geographic, imprisonment in communist era and memorial.

Geographic information:

Karta preuzeta s

Goli otok is the smallest (4,7 km2) from the three tiny islands (the biggest is Prvić and the second big Sveti Grgur — St. Gregory) situated at the northwest coast of the Adriatic, between two bigger islands - Krk and Rab, as shown on the first map.

Imprisonment in communist era:

Goli otok means a method of terrifying „re-education" of more than 16000 political prisoners , 15173 men and 928 women, accused of being supporters of the INFORMBIRO- Resolution from 1948, i.e. of being enemies of the former Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia (FNRJ). 12690 of the prisoners were sentenced to socially useful work in duration from 6 months to 2 years while the rest of them - 3592 prisoners were exclusively military persons sentenced by military courts to between 2 - 20 years of severe imprisonment
The fact that among the imprisoned there were also many innocent people, and not only true IB-supporters, has later been internally admitted by high federal officials in the following way: Aleksandar Ranković, Minister of the Interior, said that there were between 1/3 and 1/2 of innocent people imprisoned; Jefto Šašić, the General of KOS (Counterintelligence Service) said that among the imprisoned there were less than 5% of the actual 1B- supporters. Other prisoners were common citizens, most often family people, friends or acquaintances of prisoners who were associated with them according to the regime criterion - whoever is not with us, must be against us.
According to Ivan Kosić, author of the book Naked Island —Tito's Biggest Concentration Camp (Goli otok — najveći Titov konclogor , ADAMIĆ, Rijeka, 2003 and MIKRORAD Zagreb, 2009) the regime on Goli otok was a combination of repressive methods of OHRANA (secret Russian imperial police, Gestapo-like concentration camps and the Stalin's Gulag". In difference to Nazi-camps ( Dachau, Mauthausen, Auschwitz... ), Soviet's Katyn and Ustacha's Jasenovac — where people were killed primarily because they belonged to certain race or nationality, on Goli otok the system was aimed at destroying the dignity and solidarity of prisoners. In comparison to other punishment systems in the world the novum of Goli otok lay in the most perfidious, blackmailing pressure on old prisoners to offend, chase and torture the new ones, snitch them and thus morally abase themselves at the same time cheering to Tito, Marko (A.Ranković) and other highly positioned politicians (when they visited them or when they appeared in movie journals which were the basic way of informing prisoners about the events in the country and in the world). Such system had its roots among the party's top politicians: it was practiced by prisoners favouring the state police and UDBA (State Security Administration) (!) — characterised as such by Jovo Kapičić, Ranković's deputy and the organiser of Goli otok in the periodical GLOBUS issued in Zagreb, on 15 February 2008; this system was practiced everywhere within the Archipelago Goli: in investigation prisons and especially and most extremely later, while serving punishment in six camps on the islands: four on Goli and two on Sv. Grgur (St. Gregory — on the second map).

Already upon „welcome" of the first group of prisoners on Goli, on 9 Jul 1949, Kapičić resolutely informed them that here they were outside the law, what de facto meant that they were deprived of all human and citizen rights and that they could be chased, tortured and beaten to death by prisoners inclined to UDBA — especially on the occasion of "welcoming" new groups of prisoners— what the latter indeed practiced, following the orders and in the presence of investigators, other members of the administration and police.
This convincingly explains the fact that the number of dead and those "died" (killed in an escape attempt, self-drowned, suicide commiters, infected by typhoid and then died) prisoners of Goli only between 1949 and 1960 reached the number of 413 whereof 332 under 50 years of age i.e.of an average age of 38 years (!). The numbers would have been even more shocking in those terrifying conditions had there not been a devoted help by the physician and great humanist Nikola Nikolić (1896-1986), the former prisoner of Jasenovac Camp (1942.) and the saviour of the wounded warriors at Sutjeska river in 1943, who in "hospital" took care of the beaten, exhausted and ill prisoners - among them also of the most defiantly offering resistance to the methods on Goli, Colonel Valdo Dapčević (1917-2001). Additionally, the method of Goli was unscrupulously spread also to the families of the prisoners: the spouses were forced to deny and abandon their imprisoned partner and if they refused to do so they were dismissed from work, thrown out of their apartments, expelled from universities; the families were not in due time or were not at all informed about the death of the imprisoned nor were they permitted to bury them appropriately; they were also not allowed to know the whereabouts of the imprisoned, to send them parcels nor to visit them while serving punishment. Therefore it is not surprising that the camp prisoners who during Second World War were in Nazi-camps and Quisling-camps and later on Goli found the imprisonment on Goli much harder because it was killing humane dignity and suppressing any kind of solidarity among prisoners. More about Goli can be found on internet (under Goli otok, Naked Island etc.) and especial attention deserve also the following three issues commemorating the 60'th anniversary of the arrival of first prisoners to Goli: apart from the already mentioned second edition of the book by Ivan Kosić, here is also the second edition of "LJUBIČICA BELA" ("White Violete") with the subtitle "Two and half years in the Yugoslav Gulag for women" (Belgrade, 2009) - an excellent book by a Serbian-Israeli authress Ženi Lebl, and the premier of the remarkable Austrian documentary film STRAHOTA — Gefangnisinsel Goli otok, Salzburg, Mai 2009, by the authors Reinhard Grabher, ORF- journalist and Franz Schweighofer, cameraman. The do­cumentary is based on the testimonies of former prisoners, four of whom are members of our Association. (Alfred Pal, Vladimir Bobinac, Pavao Ravlić and Zlatko Hill).


Starting from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the principles of the civil society and the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia and advocating democracy and leal state we have - in our Promemory addressed to the Commit-tee for Human Rights in the Croatian Parliament and to the Government of the Republic of Croatia, initiated, proposed and explained the procedure to be carried out by the Government and the Parliament for founding the Memorial Area Goli otok with the seat on Goli - including museum, library, art gallery and hospital and for placing adequate memorial signs: memorial plaques, obelisks, busts etc. Here the obelisk-lighthouse should be erected, names of all imprisoned should be engraved on the walls of the Museum, the bust of the Dr. Nikola Nikolić installed. In the procedure so far, two proposals made to the Government of the Republic of Croatia by the Committee for Human Rights were accepted unanimously. The government has marked the project as high priority, the work on documentation was in progress and thus by the end of the year 2011 the Government's proposal, discussion and the promotion of the Act on the Memorial Area Goli otok is expected.

31.03.2011 Pavao Ravlić
president of the Association