Would You Live in a Luxury Resort That Was Once a Concentration Camp?

Jan 21, 2016 4 comments

That’s the question angered family members of those who were imprisoned at a sea fort in the Adriatic Sea is asking, when the government approved a project that could transform the historic site in Montenegro into a high-end luxury resort.

The fort in Mamula Island was built in 1853 by Austro-Hungarian general Lazar Mamula as part of his army’s contingency plans of preventing enemy ships from entering the Boka Bay. During World War II, Italy’s fascist leader Benito Mussolini converted the Mamula fort into a concentration camp. Around 2,000 prisoners were held at the camp site, of which 80 were executed and another 50 or more died from hunger in the grim and harsh conditions of the concentration camp.


Rendering of a luxury resort that will be built on Mamula Island

Despite the site’s dark past, the Montenegrin parliament approved a project from the Swiss-Egyptian company Orascom that will turn the currently abandoned fort into a resort with restaurants, spa and nightclubs.

The decision has outraged relatives of former prisoners.

Olivera Doklestic, whose grandfather, father and uncle were imprisoned at the Mamula Fortress on the island, said “To build a luxury hotel dedicated to entertainment at this place where so many people perished and suffered is a blatant example of lack of seriousness towards history.” She added that the fortress should be renovated and opened to visitors as a historic site, not as a hotel.

"No concentration camp in the world has been transformed into a hotel," she said.

The Montenegrin government defended its decision, saying the project will boost local economy. "We were facing two options: to leave the site to fall into ruin or find investors who would be willing to restore it and make it accessible to visitors," said Olivera Brajovic, head of Montenegro's national directorate for tourism development.

The developers issued a statement saying that “the project will be sympathetic to the local architecture and will completely preserve the historical value of the island.” The company also pledged to build a room of remembrance for victims, but those against said that would rather see the island’s history preserved.



Swimming pools and palm trees: A visualization of the luxury resort that will be built on Mamula Island


Photo credit: Atraktor Studio/Flickr


Photo credit: Hons084/Wikimedia


Photo credit: Hons084/Wikimedia


Photo credit: Hons084/Wikimedia


Photo credit: Hons084/Wikimedia


Photo credit: Hons084/Wikimedia

via CNN


  1. No, I would not stay there under any circumstances. The island and it's building should be left as a historic site to visit.

  2. I m sure that once a hotel is built...it will be haunted by souls of the people who perished there

  3. So... We're just going to COMPLETELY ignore the fact that the building looks like PacMan, then...

  4. i think it was more a POW camp more then a concentration camp because the way its described sounds more like a POW camp because if it was a concentration camp i think thee would have been more deaths.


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