For Victims Of Communist Crimes In Croatia

Goli Otok/Barren Island
Political horror prison in
Croatia during communist regime
Photo: Caters News Agency

Last week, 23 August 2017 was a very significant day for the free world; it was the Black Ribbon Day, the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Totalitarian Regimes in Europe. The profoundest of human sufferings caused by totalitarian regimes has for years been remembered on a global scale particularly to do with the persecution and mass murders of Jewish people. The other side of the terrible human suffering caused by the communist regimes has not been exposed to the equal extent and as such, this fact suggests that those associated in any way in protecting the communist totalitarian regime from being exposed for its horrors have “friends” in “high places”. I say this because the communist regime has not been deservedly, justly and absolutely rejected, particularly in Croatia that has so far evaded lustration. The sheer enormity of the number of victims of communist crimes, awaiting justice in the background in Croatia, make the rather frequent celebrations in public of that regime enough to make blood boil.

The horror and terror of the communist totalitarian regime in Croatia over decades can, among multitudes of mass graves and pits, be demonstrated through considering the cruel and fearsome prison island of “Goli Otok” (Barren Island), where according to Amnesty International, 50,000 of political prisoners were held, 600 of which died a horrible death there, often caused by the consequences of prisoners being forced to beat each other “to a pulp”.

Inside Goli Otok prison today
Photo: Caters News Agency

“Goli Otok” has been likened by some to Alkatraz and branded “Croatian Alkatraz” and one wonders why this is so? Is it for the reason of trying to make Goli Otok into what it was not – a maximum security prison for those convicted of having committed real criminal offences. Prisoners of “Goli Otok” were political prisoners, prisoners of conscience. While not being politically inclined towards the communist party was not a real crime it was made so by the communist totalitarian regime. It is in this branding of Goli Otok as Croatian Alcatraz that one can see a yet another malicious attempt to “soften” the horror communist Yugoslavia dished out to people of differing political inclinations.

In the 40 years it was open from 1949, Goli Otok served as example of the ultimate horror of the communist totalitarian regime.

Inside Goli Otok prison today
Photo: Caters News Agency

Prisoner accounts described the place as a ‘living hell’ of torture of innocent people. Despite being abandoned for 28 years now, the haunting history of Goli Otok can still be felt there. The history of the horrible and oppressive communist regime in Croatia makes Goli Otok a chilling place to be in, to remember. Much like the Gulags in Russia only forced hard labour being a minor aspect of Goli Otok compared to tortures and persecutions and horrible deaths. Goli Otok equals in its entirety to crimes against humanity. Goli Otok was the only Gulag-like site in Europe and that in itself demonstrates the horror of the communist regime in Croatia that was not different to Stalin’s Gulags which saw many millions perish in communist purges.

Zelimir Kuzatko at Goli Otok
23 August 2017
Photo: Facebook

Eighty two year old Zelimir Kuzatko, Goli Otok survivor, visits the former communist prison site every year and he was there last week. “We all received the same indictment, acts against the nation and the state, we all received the same accusations and the same sentences, from five years to death,” he said last week while laying down a wreath in remembrance of victims.

Chilling horror runs though the Goli Otok prison survivors as they remember.

The six of us received 33 years of prison in total,” said another survivor, Zeljko Crnogorac.

If you came to Goli Otok and said you were not guilty, that you are innocent, then you could not survive,” said Tadija Zubak, a former political prisoner there.

In remembrance for the victims of the communist totalitarian regime – Ina Vukic.


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