One-hundred-and-thirty people died during WWII on the Montenegrin Island that is now set to become a high-class resort.
During WWII Italian dictator Benito Mussolini used the island of Mamula, off the coast of Montenegro, to imprison 2,300 people.
The Montenegrin Government has giving the go-ahead for the island to undergo an $16.3 million renovation, The Mirror reports. The site will be transformed by Swedish-Egyption company Orascom, and will boast swimming pools, a yacht marina and several restaurants.
Since the end of WWII, Marmula, like many other concentration camps across Europe, has served as a solemn reminder and place of remembrance for the horrors of the war. It inspired the 1959 film Campo Mamula.
You can watch a clip of that film below (post continues after video):
The head of Montenegro’s national directorate for tourism development, Olivera Brajovic, told the AFP: “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.” According to Balkin Insight, since becoming financially independent in 2006, Montenegro has relied on funding from high-end tourism.
According to CNN, Olivera Doklestic, whose uncle, father and grandfather were held prisoner at Mamula, told the AFP, “To build a luxury hotel dedicated to entertainment at this place where so many people perished and suffered is a blatant example of a lack of seriousness towards history.” She is among many family members of survivors angered by the proposed project.
Balkin Insight report the Montenegrin Government have defended their decision on the basis of the revenue they expect the development to bring. Orascom has stated the resort will include a “memorial room or museum.”
“We will create a museum with the best restaurant and the best hotel on the Mediterranean,” said Orascom’s President, Samih Saviris.