The scars of history – a workshop on totalitarianism


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The scars of history

Located in the north-eastern part of the Adriatic Sea in Croatia, Goli Otok [lit. the “Bare” or “Naked” Island] is most widely recognized as a relic from the Yugoslavian past. Goli Otok housed a prison camp of the same name during Tito’s reign over Yugoslavia. The island was chosen as a prison camp during Tito’s regime predominantly because of its geographical and natural features: it is an island without vegetation, unpopulated and remote. This prison camp was a result of the totalitarian political ideology that permeated Yugoslavia and can be compared to Soviet Russia’s Gulag. Its primary purpose was to “re-educate” the so-called “enemies of Yugoslav state” in the aftermath of a famous political split between Stalin and Tito in 1948.  


  Since the summer of 2016 the NGO Magis has organized historical-political workshops in the form of summer schools that discuss totalitarian ideologies and far-reaching consequences of totalitarian mentality. 2018 marks the year when we have decided to open this type of a summer school to international youth (19―30 years of age). This year’s programme is planned under the name The Scars of History with the goal of educating the public even more about the far-reaching consequences of totalitarian mentality and about its impact on history on a socio-cultural level. In other words, our goal is to show that totalitarian history leaves a permanent mark on society, which remains as a scar on community. These scars testify to the troublesome past, individual acts, and dehumanising aspects of political power and regime.    


    The workshop on totalitarianism is planned as a one-week event on Goli Otok, specifically, in ex-prison camp buildings known by the name of Žica (lit. the “Wire”). The interdisciplinary approach of the programme combines various elements of history, philosophy, sociology, and political science, with various lecturers. The special part of the programme incorporates traditional Jesuit spiritual environment, in which the NGO Magis was originally formed.  


The scars of history – a workshop on totalitarianism


Summer camp


Goli Otok

Cost contribution


Participants age: 19-30

Number of participants: 20

Camp schedule

  • 21/07/2019 – 28/07/2019


  • - 7 days stay at a former prison complex
  • - Participants need to bring their sleeping bags
  • - 3 daily meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • - Daily lectures and group discussions
  • - Abandoned complex (without electricity)
  • - Free time offered for relaxation and reflection (the beach and the sea)
  • - Spiritual environment (silent contemplation and daily Mass)


  • - The island is accessible by boat from Senj, organized by the NGO Magis (two-way)
  • - Senj is connected with other cities in Croatia and with differen Croatian airports by bus
  • - All participants are required to organize their coming to Senj personally
  • - Major airports in Croatia: Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Pula, Zadar


  • - Coming to Zagreb by plane
  • - Bus from Zagreb to Senj
  • - Boat from Senj organized by the NGO Magis

Daily schedule

  • 7:00 - Waking up
  • 7:30 - Prayer
  • 8:00 - Breakfast
  • 9:00 - Socializing during work
  • 10:00 - Free time
  • 11:00 - Lecture
  • 13:00 - Lunch
  • 14:15 - Lecture
  • 16:00 - Coffee / Leisure
  • 18:00 - Desert / Silence in the camp
  • 19:00 - Holy Mass
  • 20:00 - Dinner
  • 21:00 - Group meetings / Discussion

Travel notes

If participants are organizing their arrival on their own, they will need to pay HRK 200 for the return ticket, unless otherwise was agreed with the organizers.

Arrival to Goli Otok

Participants need to come to Senj city on Sunday 21. 07.2019 by 4:30 PM.
Ship Mala Maris will take us to the island, its scheduled departure is at 5 PM.
We would like to ask for accuracy since this is the only transport to the island.

Departure from Goli Otok

Mala Maris will take us back to Senj in the Saturdy 27.07.2019 forenoon.
We will try to adapt the time of return with bus schedules departuring from Senj.
We recommend to all those who will go by bus to book a return ticket while arriving in Senj, because we will not be able to make reservations on the island.
We are not able to provide a parking space for anyone considering coming with the car, so keep in mind you will need to organize that by yourself.

Participants are obligated to take the following:

  • - sleeping bag + mat they can put under the sleeping bag
  • - dish bowl + cutlery + glass + plastic glass 0,5 l + dishtowel
  • - hat + sunscreen
  • - swimsuit + towel
  • - sneakers + sandals/flip flops
  • - summer clothes + warm clothes in case of a bad weather
  • - umbrella/raincoat
  • - notebook + pencil
  • - hand lamp + spare batteries
  • - musical instrument if you are playing one
  • - ticket + personal documents + health card
  • - basic hygiene supplies
  • - do not bring any valuables, we can't provide storage
  • - reduce your mobile phone usage, we aren't able to provide charger for mobile phones during the stay – at the end of the stay there will be a place to charge your mobile phone

Conditions at the camp

Everyone sleeps in sleeping bags on mats or folding bed.

3 daily meals. One meal a day is cooked.

Even though there is shade in places, the island is naturally a naked stone so it is necessary to bring sun protection.

Bring anything that is necessary for you because we will not be able to buy anything since a store or a shop does not exist on the island (e.g. cigarettes or extra flip flops)

Important remarks

If you are bringing contact lenses be sure to bring glasses also, because of dusty and salty surroundings.

If you are using any kind of medication, please inform us beforehand, especially if the medication needs to be stored in the fridge.


If you have any questions or need some other info, feel free to contact us.

Magis team


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