KS kultura sjećanja / remembrance culture

Guide through the History of Goli otok Internment Camp presented in Rijeka

Sept. 29, 2020

The presentation of the guide took place on Monday, September 28, in the exhibition hall of Exportdrvo in Rijeka. The presentation was opened by Blanka Smoljan from the regional office of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung for Croatia and Slowenia, who, in cooperation with Documenta - the Center for Dealing with the Past, created a printed and virtual historical guide. The well-attended presentation of the guide took place in the presence of the Mayor of Rijeka, Mr. Vojko Obersnel, who in his welcome speech emphasized the importance of dealing with the topic of Goli otok.

The panel presentation of the guide was moderated by Dr. Sanja Bojanić, Assistant Professor at the Academy of Applied Arts at the University of Rijeka. The beginning of the panel was dedicated to the issue of architecture on Goli Otok. Architect Vladi Bralić, one of the three co-authors of the historical guide spoke about Goli Otok as a cultural landscape. Bralić emphasized the importance of preserving the buildings on the island, which are exposed to many years of decay. Dr. Boris Stamenić, Coordinator of the "Culture of Memory" programme at Documenta - Center for Dealing with the Past and one of the co-authors of the guide spoke about the importance of Goli Otok as a symbolic place whose history questions the dominant narratives on both the left and the right. In continuation, Stamenić emphasized that the printed and virtual guide represent only a step in the appropriate memorialization of Goli Otok and advocated the construction of a museum and educational institution on Goli Otok, developed by a wider circle of experts from various disciplines.Darko Bavoljak, president of the Goli otok association Ante Zemljar, which brings together family members of former detainees, pointed out the importance of written and recorded testimonies of former detainees as important elements of the future museum, especially regarding the small number of photographies and preserved objects from the period of re-education camp, which existed on Foli otok from 1949 until 1956. A large number of comments and questions from the audience in the final part of the presentation indicated the existence of public interest in the topic of Goli Otok.

A virtual guide to the history of Goli Otok is available in Croatian and English version for a free download at goli.hr