Concentration camp to be turned to luxury resort


Atraktor Studio

The former concentration camp on the island of Mamula.

The words “concentration camp” typically bring thoughts of death, suffering, and misery. These places are associated with the death of millions during World War II, but some time in the near future they may be associated with luxury and relaxation.


The island of Mamula lies near the border of Croatia and Montenegro and is home to one of the concentration camps that was used by dictator Benito Mussolini during World War II. The camp once imprisoned 2,300 people and lead to the deaths of at least 150 of those who were held there. Recently, a plan has been created to renovate the dark history of this location into a brand new beach resort.


The former concentration camp on the island of Mamula (Photo by Atraktor Studio)
The former concentration camp on the island of Mamula (Photo by Atraktor Studio)


An Swiss-Egyptian developer, Orascom, plans to invest over $16 million in the project. The camp will be remodeled into a luxury resort complete with swimming pools, a spa, a yacht, restaurants, and a dance floor. There is not yet an estimate of when construction will be completed and the resort will be open to the public.


This plan is extremely controversial for obvious reasons. On one side there are those that support the renovations and say that they will preserve the history of the land, and on the other hand some people are outraged that a place where so much tragedy took place is being turned into a place of luxury and relaxation.


Those involved in the construction of the resort are in full support of it and believe they have logical reasons for the renovations. Olivera Brajovic, head of Montenegro’s national directorate for tourism development told CNN, “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.” She, along with many others, believe that renovating the camp is the right thing to do in order to keep it from being destroyed due to its old age.


Although the resort will include a museum of the history of the location, there are still a large amount of people who do not agree with the renovations. Many of them are family members of the camp’s former prisoners.


In an interview with CNN, Olivera Doklestic 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.” Her grandfather, father and uncle were imprisoned at Mamula.

The Montenegrin government believes that the project will boost the economy, increase tourism, and preserve the history of the camp. Despite the controversy and varying opinions, the plans for renovation are moving forward and there is no sign that they will be put to a stop.