January 18, 2016 10:30 am

Former Montenegro concentration camp to become luxury resort, spa

Mamula Island resort and spa.

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A tiny island off the coast of Montenegro, once used as a concentration camp during the Second World War, is about to become a luxury hotel and spa.

A 19th century Austro-Hungarian fort sits on Mamula Island in the Adriatic Sea, where approximately 2,000 prisoners were held by fascist Italian forces under the rule of Benito Mussolini in 1942. More than 100 inmates were believed to have been killed or starved to death while under control of Mussolini’s men.

Now the fort will be converted into a luxury resort and spa after the Montenegro government approved an almost 50-year lease to Swiss-Egyptian company Orascom, according to Agence France-Presse.

Mamula Island resort and spa.

Handout

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The plans to build the resort were met with harsh criticism by relatives of former prisoners of the camp.

“To build a luxury hotel dedicated to entertainment at this place where so many people perished and suffered is a blatant example of lack of seriousness towards history,” Olivera Doklestic told AFP.

Doklestic’s father, uncle and grandfather were imprisoned at Mamula, the news agency reported.

“No concentration camp in the world has been transformed into a hotel,” Doklestic said.

Described as having “party ambience,” the resort’s website shows a layout of the hotel that features a large dance floor in the middle of the compound, a DJ, spa and marina-jetty.

Mamula Island resort and spa.

Handout

Last week, tourism officials defended the leasing of the island.

“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,” Olivera Brajovic, head of the national directorate for tourism development, told AFP.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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