Vera Winter (1923. – 2015.)

Image source: the Winter family’s private album

When the Cominform Resolution was issued in summer 1948, Vera Winter, née Barišić, was a young official in a federal ministry in Belgrade. One of her superiors was a Stalin sympathiser, which was reason enough for her to be consid­ered suspicious as well. She was apprehended very soon after she naively told two UDBA officials at her office that she listened to Radio Moscow. After a harsh investigation, she was deported to the camp.

„I was in the brigade that transported stone, from the coast all the way up to the hill. The difficult thing, apart from the carrying itself, was that we had no footwear at all, just a pair of rubber sandals each. These were actually old tyres tied to our feet. Horrible. After a short while, blood began to run down our feet, so I had to tear up my blouse to make the sandals (…) The physical labour without rest was the hardest thing for me. The ceaseless hauling of rocks or bags of cement from morning to nightfall. I had visible scars until recently; some are visible still today, even though it’s been 60 years. That’s the first thing. The second was the psychological exhaustion, such that I was breaking up inside. I couldn’t go on, I told myself, I’ll do whatever they ask of me, just to die that instant. Can you imagine that?“

Statement from an interview with Martin Previšić, Zagreb, 2009

See interview with Vera Winter: