Vladimir Bobinac (1923. – 2014.)

Photograph: Zoran Petrič

Vladimir Bobinac was arrested as a history student at the Philosophy Faculty in Zagreb. He spent two years on Goli Otok. After the democratic transition in the 1990s, when access to Goli Otok was allowed, Bobinac began guiding private tours of the island. Until his death he showed the island to thou­sands of people, passing on his experiences from the camp. Vladimir Bobinac described his experiences from Goli Otok:

„Goli Otok is the masses. Goli is not Alfred Pal, Pavle Ravlić or me. Goli is not an individual, because it’s the masses. Goli is a beating administered to a comrade by his wartime comrades, reporting on each other. This is difficult to describe. Goli is like the Eisenstein film about the seamen’s rebellion in Odessa, where there is no lead actor with nice teeth, but where the main role is played by the masses. There are no heroes on Goli, because you can’t be a hero for two years or more. A hero dies or doesn’t die in a second, while on Goli you are dying for years. You can only suffer up to a certain point, after which you stumble and become part of the raging mob fighting and threatening one another. The only condition for survival is for you to become part of this mob. It’s difficult to describe how the Goli Otok system changed a man to make him do whatever he had to do. That’s my view of all of that.“

Statement from an interview with Martin Previšić, Zagreb, 2009