News / Europe

Tito's Widow, First Lady of Yugoslavia, Dies at 88

Tito's Widow, First Lady of Yugoslavia, Dies at 88i
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
October 20, 2013 10:55 PM
Jovanka Broz, who spent three decades as Yugoslavia's First Lady but was left stateless and forgotten as war shattered the socialist federation built by her husband 'Tito', died on Sunday in a Belgrade hospital.
Historical clips of Jovanka Broz and Josip Broz Tito (some without audio)
Reuters
Jovanka Broz, who spent three decades as Yugoslavia's First Lady but was left stateless and forgotten as war shattered the socialist federation built by her husband 'Tito', died on Sunday in a Belgrade hospital.

 

State television RTS said Broz had died of cardiac arrest.


She was 88 and had lived largely in isolation since the death of Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito in 1980, squirreled away in a crumbling state-owned villa in the Serbian capital without a passport or ID.


Born in Croatia, Broz became a nurse with Tito's Partisan fighters in World War Two, then his personal secretary and finally his third wife in 1952.


Tito was 32 years her senior, and presided over a federation of 22 million people balanced between Cold War East and West.


Unlike the grey, staid Communist leaders of the Soviet bloc, Tito and his wife revelled in ostentation and glamour.


Dead three days short of his 88th birthday, Tito's funeral gathered heads of state and dignitaries from across the Cold War divide, including Britain's Margaret Thatcher and ailing Soviet president Leonid Brezhnev.

Life in isolation


Tito's wife had already been removed from the public eye in the late 1970s, as the party elite had grown increasingly suspicious of her influence over the elderly president.


Soon after Tito's funeral, authorities confiscated all property and personal belongings of the couple and placed Broz under virtual house arrest in a dilapidated government-owned villa in Belgrade's hilltop Dedinje district.


With Tito gone and the Cold War over, his widow looked on as nationalist tensions tore apart Yugoslavia in the 1990s, spawning seven new states during a decade of war and ethnic cleansing that killed more than 125,000 people.


Nationalists chipped away at Tito's reputation and legacy, deconstructing the personality cult built around him in an effort to undermine the mantra of 'Brotherhood and Unity' that underpinned Yugoslavia.


His widow was boxed away, out of sight. She lived on a state pension, the villa gradually falling into disrepair.


Then in 2006, responding to a public appeal from Broz's sister, democrats who took power in Serbia with the fall of nationalist strongman Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, undertook to fix the leaking roof and reconnect the heating.


"I remember that it was minus 11 [Celsius] outside and there was no heating in the house," Serbian Trade Minister Rasim Ljajic, who visited Broz in the winter of 2005, said in a recent interview with the Serbian daily Politika.


"It was unbearable," he said. "Jovanka was wearing all her winter clothes."

In 2009, Broz was finally granted a Serbian passport, and though she rarely spoke publicly, she was seen once a year at Tito's mausoleum on the May 4 anniversary of his death.
 

In one of her last interviews, Broz told the Serbian daily Blic that she absolved Tito of responsibility for her estrangement towards the end of his rule. "Tito loved me until his death," she said.


Blic reported that she had asked to be buried next to Tito.

You May Like

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs