scientific papers

Introduction into difficult heritage commodification issues


The paper provides insight into the topic of difficult heritage commodification. In the first part of the paper the authors analyse the theoretical concept of heritage from the museological point of view and proceed to define the concept of difficult heritage which is becoming increasingly prominent in research literature and denotes those segments of a community or society’s heritage which often remain unrecognized or represent the ignored and at times denied part of the past that does not fit in with the desired affirmative heritage. Subsequently, the authors elaborate on the complexity of the heritage commodification with its positive and negative aspects. The second part of the paper focuses on the importance of recognizing the commodification of difficult heritage as an especially sensitive and challenging process which inevitably requires taking into account various aspects, from interpretation and presentation of difficult heritage to the numerous ethical questions.

Ecohistorial aspects of Goli otok labor camp 1949-1956


After the break up of the SFR Yugoslavia, a handful of historians who dealt with the topic of Goli otok mainly focused on the socio- political aspects of this political prison and labour camp’s past, drawing on a large body of former inmates’ testimonies about the harsh everyday life in the camp and the peculiar methods of its orchestration. However, the impact of Goli otok political prison and labour camp was not, of course, only limited to the Yugoslav socio- political climate and the individuals living in these times. Its influence is also noticeable on the very site of the labour camp- the island. Hard forced labour undertaken by thousands of political prisoners which included the construction of several workshops and small factories orientated towards the production and the distribution of various stone and wood products is but one of the factors which dramatically influenced the island’s environment. Human dwellings and accompanying industrial constructions erected on the island’s desert- like stone terrain, as well as the now afforested portions of once (literally) barren island are just some of the examples. In other words, the forced labour of the incarcerated thousands is inextricable from the impact on island’s environment, albeit the nominal purpose of this labour was ‘corrective’. This paper therefore aims to contribute to the study of Goli otok from the viewpoint of environmental history. The paper speaks to the works of the authors dealing with the environmental, carceral and labour history aspects in the study of USSR Gulag as one of the examples relatable to the Goli otok story. In so doing, the paper aims to contextualise Goli otok within a wider scholarly space, considering the geographical, ideological implications,  as well as those of environmental and socio- political history.

Discourse on Goli otok from a female perspective

Katarzyna Taczyńska

The paper aims to reconstruct the emergence of female discourse which is focused on camps for Informbiro adherents. These female testimonies were excluded from mainstream history and literature because, on the one hand, the issue of Goli otok Camp (Barren Island Camp) was a taboo issue, and, on the other hand, because of the dominance of the male narratives. The subordination and, moreover, the nonexistence of mainstream female memoirs persisted until Danilo Kiš got interested in women’s prison camp experience. Documentary series Goli život (Barren life) was filmed on his initiative in 1989. Danilo Kiš also inspired Ženi Lebl to write down her own history. That was the first camp testimony published by a woman (Ljubičica bela. Vic dug dve i po godine 1990/ The White Violet. Two and a half year long joke). A recent study showed that another camp prisoner, Milka Žicina, was writing about her camp experience during the 1970s, but was hiding the manuscript in fear of repression. Her texts were published posthumously in the journals Dnevnik (1993) and Letopis Matice srpske (1998).

Traitors are always female: Political prisoners in the Goli archipelago

Renata Jambrešić Kirin

Renata Jambrešić Kirin. „Traitors are always female: Political prisoners in the Goli archipelago“ (Up & Underground, Spring 2010: 231-242).

The article describes the specific traits of the treatment of female political prisoners in the camps on Goli Otok (1951-1952) and Grgur (1950-1951; 1953-1956), taking into account the reasons for arrest, pressure and blackmail in the remand prison, methods of physical and psychological torture, internees’ division into antagonistic groups, as well as the effect of cruel repressive measures of “re-education” on their further (family) life and career, that is, on the “vow of silence” that they respected until the 1990s. The author believes that instead of large show trials of that time (Prague, Budapest, Bucharest) – micro-processes were staged in UDB remand prisons in which the intensity of pre-war factional party clashes, callous careerism and struggle for resources and power coalesced with patriarchal mentality, misogyny, chauvinism, and even anti-Semitism. The recorded experiences of political prisoners (Ženi Lebl, Eva Grlić, Miljuša Jovanović, Milka Žicina, etc.) testify to the contradictions of the post-revolutionary ideology that radically changed institutions, but not the behaviour and consciousness of the people.

The article is published in Croatian language.

Yugoslav Women Intellectuals: From a Party Cell to a Prison Cell

Renata Jambrešić Kirin

Renata Jambrešić Kirin “Yugoslav Women Intellectuals: From a Party Cell to a Prison Cell” (History of Communism in Europe 5 (2014): 36-53) 

The Yugoslav socialist framework enabled major advances in what concerns the legal, economic and social equality of women, advances which radically changed their traditionally subordinated family and social position. In spite of the postwar period of revolutionary enthusiasm, female political

activism and the access of women intellectuals to the male-dominated spheres of journalism, diplomacy, administration and governmental offices did not exist for long. Taking into account memoirs and oral histories of five distinguished women, the article reveals the reasons for the Party’s antifeminist attitudes: a) the political fear of ambitious female “quality staff ”; b) the ideological

fear of the women guardians of the traditional and religious foundations of collective identity; c) a cultural mistrust toward the mobile woman who easily transcends family, social and ethnic boundaries. These biographical sources reveal that any attempt at free thought and autonomous action outside of the party line was severely punished.