The book White Violet (Ljubičica bela) by Ženi Lebl

White Violet is a book written by Ženi Lebl about her days as prisoner at Glavnjača, Ramski Rit, Zabela and on Sveti Grgur and Goli Otok. She was incarcerated from April 28, 1949 to August 30, 1951. The book has gone through three editions. In 1990 there were two editions published by Dječje Novine of Gornji Milanovac; a third, enlarged, edition was printed by Čigoja Štampa of Belgrade. It has been published in several editions in Hebrew.

At the beginning of the third edition, Ženi wrote “Instead of an introduction”: “I am sure that I would not have put down and written about all that I had to live through, stories about Glavnjača, Ramski Rit, about Zabela (the VIII pavilion), the two sides of the island of Sveti Grgur and, the worst of them all, about Goli Otok, if  they had been already known, described, perhaps had had poems written about them, and already been got over and to an extent – if that is at all possible – consigned to oblivion. But they were not. At the time of writing, the hundreds of women who passed through them, through all these places, were still silent, still afraid, even forty and more years later. Why? That is what I try to explain here, explain something that wouldn’t occur to a normal person in normal conditions in a normal or at least normative state. What I wrote encouraged those who had experienced and survived the same thing, or something similar, to shake off all their fears, their shame and everything else that inhibited them, still perhaps today inhibits them, from speaking out at last. In spite of their having been sworn to silence, in spite of the fact that they were forced to be the “outstretched hand” of the interrogators with their deformed minds who said of themselves that they had “never sullied their hands”, and in spite the whole of the machinery of the state claiming that it “never knew” what had happened “there”.

*We thank Ženi’s niece Ana Lebl and the publisher, Čigoja Štampa, for having permitted us to publish the part from the book about Sveti Grgur and Goli Otok. 

A chapter from the book (Croatian only), with illustrations of Geršon Apfel, in PDF format

 

The Book of Memories of Eva Grlić

The testimony of Eva Grlić about her days as prisoner on Sv. Grgur and Goli Otok from April 1950 to January 1953 was published in the autobiographical book “Memories” published by Durieux in 1997. It aroused huge interest and in 2001 a second edition was published; the book was subsequently translated into Hungarian, Italian and English. A third, enlarged, posthumous edition is in the course of preparation.

* We are grateful to the publisher and the family for having enabled us to publish a chapter from the book.

Chapter from the book (Croatian only) in PDF formatu

 

Book of the testimony of Đina Markuš

This is a part of the unpublished book of the testimony of Đina Markuš, a Montenegrin intellectual and communist; she was decorated for her courage during the anti-fascist war. She was one of those communists who stood out against the “[privileged] diplomatic shops” and the post-war social stratification. She was arrested in 1949 and spent some time in remand in Glavnjača Prison in Belgrade; later she was shipped off to Sv. Grgur and Goli Otok, staying there to 1952. To the end of her life, she never managed to adjust to normal life, and because of her prison-camp traumas had to be treated in psychiatric institutions.

* We are grateful to our colleague Nataša Nelevic, dramaturge, writer and founder of the digital Museum of Women of Montenegro (https://www.muzejzena.me/) for permission to examine and research into the manuscript papers of Đina Markuš.

A part of the unpublished book in PDF format