Eligio Zanini (1927 – 1993)

Eligio Zanini was born in 1927 in Rovinj. He became an active member of the Yugoslav Communist Youth in 1948, but after the announcement of the break between Tito and Stalin he decided to leave political activities behind, excepting his work in the culture and education departments. His decision to leave the Communist Party and remain neutral regarding the Tito-Stalin split had the consequence of his arrest by the Department for State Security (UDB) from Pula. At the time of his arrest in early 1949 he was attending a Marxism course for teachers in Rijeka. He was imprisoned on the same day in Pula, where he was questioned. After six months in prison, he was sent to Goli Otok. He was sentenced to an administrative sentence of 13 months.

After arriving in Goli Otok he was forced to work on the construction of the camp. Soon after his arrival, prisoner conditions worsened. Together with other prisoners, he was forced to do heavy physical labour accompanied with beatings and ideological re-education. After seven to eight months in the camp, Zanini was offered the possibility to sign a statement about his siding with Tito, in exchange for being released. He refused and was then subjected to an even crueler treatment. Only after collapsing with exhaustion did he start to get somewhat lighter tasks, such as looking after the island plant nursery. After over two years on the island, in spring 1952, he was transferred to do forced labor on the building of the railway tracks in Bosnia and Hercegovina, where he remained until autumn that year. 

Following his return to Pula, he was under strict vigilance for three years, with a demand to report all his activities. He started to work as a manual worker in a warehouse, but probably thanks to his education, he quickly managed to find a job as an accountant. He worked as a primary school teacher in Savudrija from 1959, where he helped in the renewal of the activities of the local Italian cultural society. During the 1960s he completed his teaching studies and worked in a primary school in Bale, near Rovinj. He died in Pula in 1993.