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Former concentration camp to be converted to vacation resort

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There is a tiny, uninhabited island off the coast of Montenegro in the Adriatic Sea that was once the site of a World War II concentration camp. The camp was occupied by Italian troops under fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. 

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Historians claim that 2,300 people were imprisoned here and at least 130 were killed or starved to death. 

Now, Swiss-Egyptian developer Orascom wants to convert that abandoned island into a luxury vacation resort.

The Montenegrin government approved a project to transform the islet of Mamula into a resort, complete with swimming pools, a yacht marina, a spa, restaurants and a dance floor. It granted Orascom a 49-year lease for $1.64 per square meter. Mamula's diameter is about 200 meters.

"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 Montenegro's national directorate for tourism development, told AFP.

Montenegrin tourism officials have said the resort would attract tourism and help boost the country's economy.

But many family members of the wartime camp's prisoners are outraged.

"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 grandfather, father and uncle were all imprisoned at Mamula.

Orascom said it'll invest $16.3 million in the project.

Read more about the proposed development here

See images and video of the proposed development here

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