Why this publication on Goli Otok is important

For the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, an institution engaged in political education, history is always a site of learning – those who confront history should do so with a twofold epistemological interest: above all, to grasp what happened, when, for which reasons and with what consequences; but also to draw lessons from history for the present and the future. FES, with its own history department, has over the years made extensive contributions to researching Fascism in Germany, the history of the workers’ movement and its central agents, and social history in general.

Guided by the paradigm of critical historical science, FES hopes that this brochure will help you understand what exactly took place on this small Adriatic island – Goli Otok – and allow you to draw lessons for the present and the future.

We hope that if you use this virtual guide, and visit Goli Otok equipped with it, you may experience not only the natural beauty of the island, but also understand the human suffering that took place there. By confronting Goli Otok’s past, we make sure that the suffering of the inmates who had been interned there between 1949 and 1956 is not forgotten. Visitors can thus grasp how unacceptable it is to deprive people of their freedom because their thinking is different from that of those in power. Ultimately, we hope that this brochure will encourage you to stand up for freedom and solidarity, and against injustice and repression – wherever they take place. However, we are aware that Goli Otok cannot symbolize all those places in the world where far greater horrors took place.

I offer my heartfelt gratitude to the authors of this guide, Martin Previšić, Vladi Bralić and Boris Stamenić, who have made this important historical research available to a wider group of readers. I would also like to thank the Bestias Dizajn company, for the graphic design of the virtual guide, and Blanka Smoljan from FES, for her passionate and immaculate behind-the-scene work, without which this brochure would not have materialised.

Türkan Karakurt Director of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation office in Zagreb