Five-volume book on Goli Otok, D. Mihailović
‘Goli Otok’ 1–5 is a five-volume book of memoirs comprising almost 3,000 pages. It includes the memories of Mihailović himself as well as of others who survived Goli Otok. Mihailović explores the topic by combining research and a journalistic approach. His research efforts and work to shape the material into a book took a full 37 years. He has mentioned several times that he modelled his work on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and his ‘Gulag Archipelago’. ‘I chose a journalistic form of dialogue about Goli Otok with people who had survived it themselves, and who are able to formulate some conclusions about this terrible experience.’ He had gathered, ‘ten people whom he respected, liked, and who trusted him’.
Mihailović admitted that he had waited a long time for someone else to tackle the topic. ’I expected, maybe for a whole twenty years, that some other person would tackle this, someone with sufficient talent and patience to commit to it, but that didn’t happen, and then I concluded that I would have to start myself.’ He believes that Goli Otok is not particularly topical today and is not given enough attention. This is one of the reasons why he decided that he would take up the task of writing about Goli Otok himself. Another lies in the significance of the topic in his personal history. ‘For me, this is directly relevant. I don’t have the right to allege that it’s important for everyone, because that would, perhaps, be immodest. But it’s important to me, why I, as a young person, was arrested and sent away to Goli Otok,’ Mihailović explained.
Through the combination of documents and oral history, Mihailović has created an original work – a ‘history-memory’, a memoir based on facts and real-life testimonies – and in this sense the five-volume opus represents an indispensable work for investigating the history of Goli Otok.
Mihailović’s five-volume work is accessible to researchers and is kept in the Goli Otok collection in the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Belgrade.
- Radović, Sanja