The Goli otok (Barren island) labor camp was one of the best kept secrets in Tito’s Yugoslavia. During the Tito-Stalin split of 1948, over 13,000 genuine and alleged Stalin supporters were incarcerated and subjected to harsh treatment. Violence and hard labor were used in order to politically “re-educate” inmates. Several methods were used in the camps, including a complex system of fictional self-management, which made Goli otok a unique labor camp phenomenon in 20th-century history.
Martin Previšić is a Croatian historian and an assistant professor at the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
He received his BA and MA in modern history from the University of Zagreb. His PhD thesis, entitled "History of the Goli otok Cominformist prison camp 1949 - 1956," was completed under the mentorship of Ivo Banac (Yale Bradford Durfee Professor Emeritus at Yale University) and defended on July 7, 2014.
Martin Previšić teaches several courses at the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences: Croatian History after 1945; History of the International Communist Movement, and History of Yugoslavia 1945-1991; Tito-Stalin Conflict and Goli otok. In addition, he is a lecturer at the Croatian Defence Academy 'Dr Franjo Tuđman'.
He was awarded a fellowship in Israel (Yad Vashem International School for Holocaust Studies – Seminar for Holocaust Studies for Educators from Croatia and Slovenia, Jerusalem 2015). He has participated in numerous conferences at home and abroad (Oxford, Saarsbrücken, Vienna, Wroclaw,etc).
Previšić specializes in modern Croatian, Yugoslav and Soviet political history with a thematic focus on topics related to the International Communist Party, history of labor camps, as well as the breakup of Yugoslavia. His field of expertise includes a variety of new methodological approaches, such as comparative history and oral history. He collected an abundance of new information in his many interviews with contemporary witnesses, including a large number of the survivors of the labor camps in Yugoslavia. His upcoming book will be devoted to the topic of the labor camp Goli otok.