KS kultura sjećanja / remembrance culture

Civil Society Organisations called on Ministry of Culture to protect Goli Otok complex

June 27, 2018

ZAGREB, June 27, 2018 (Hina) – Documenta's Centre for Dealing with the Past and the Association Goli otok 'Ante Zemljar' presented on Wednesday their activities that will take place on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Cominform Resolution and called on the Ministry of Culture to provide funds to permanently protect the Goli Otok complex as one of the few that 'speaks' about the captivity of political prisoners.

The press conference on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Cominform Resolution about the state of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, announced the start of a mini film festival at the Tuškanac cinema in co-operation with the Croatian Film Federation. After the screenings of the films, the socializing and talks with artists and experts are scheduled. In the same time, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, in cooperation with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Ljubljana is organizing a conference with a study visit to Goli otok, it was said.

The Documenta manager Vesna Teršelič addressed the problem of the collapse of the former penitentiary complex on Goli Otok, saying it was a rare specimen, even throughout Europe, and should be preserved. She argued that there is no particular interest in protecting Goli Otok and nearby island of Sveti Grgur as a cultural property and stressed that there were around 14,000 captives on the both islands during the period of Cominform crisis.

Ms. Teršelič said that the association 'Goli otok Ante Zemljar' made the first steps towards the protection of the site, and one of them was preventive protection achieved in cooperation with the Conservation Department in Rijeka. She noted that there is a property dispute over the complexes that has not yet been resolved and pointed out that it is necessary to determine what needs to be protected and valorized for Croatia's heritage, but also to prepare a conservation base.

"The Ministry of Culture should approve the funds for these works, and it is an initial 150,000 to 400,000 kunas. We have entered the last year of preventive protection, and nothing has been done in the direction of permanent protection. All governments failed to protect Goli Otok," Teršelič said, adding that conservation would be a more complex and expensive project. As some of the options, she stated that a memorial or educational center, museum and the like could be made of the complex.

Božo Kovačević from the Association Goli otok “Ante Zemljar” said that certain policies seek to instrumentalize victims by using them as legitimacy for their current political programs.

"The victims of Goli Otok are not suitable for instrumentalisation, and no victim should be," he said. He said that people have been often imprisoned on Goli Otok simply because they had a different point of view from those proclaimed by the state authorities.