Mamula Island, a small island off the coast of Montenegro that was once used as a concentration camp during World War II, will be turned into a lavish five-star luxury hotel.
The Montenegrin government has signed a 49-year lease with Orascom, a Swiss-Egyptian company, for $16 million in funds to develop the tiny island into resort for wealthy tourists.
Orascom has already launched a website for what it plans on doing to the island and how it plans to use what is currently there as part of the hotel.
The resort will have a spa, water related activities, fine dining and a nightclub.
The island’s 19th century citadel was used by Italian Fascists serving Benito Mussolini as a prison that held 2,300 people from 1942 to 1943.
According to reports, at least 130 of the prisoners starved to death or were murdered.
Olivera Brajovic, head of the country’s tourism development, defended the decision and told French news outlet 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.”
Brajovic said that the hotel will feature a memorial room for those who perished and the former inmates. Relatives of some of those that were detained at Mamula Island have come together to oppose the project.
Olivera Doklestic, whose grandfather, father and uncle were imprisoned on the island told AFP: “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.”
Orascom’s PR agency, Manga, said that the local war veterans groups had given approval for the project, which includes plans to preserve the fortress, according to The Guardian.