3:34 am - Tuesday December 19, 2017

Serbia state funeral for widow of Yugoslav leader Tito

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Serbia state funeral for widow of Yugoslav leader Tito
Serbia state funeral for widow of Yugoslav leader Tito

The widow of former Yugoslav leader Marshal Tito has been honoured in a state funeral in the Serbian capital.

Jovanka Broz, who died of heart failure at the age of 88 last weekend, was buried next to her husband in the elaborate House of Flowers mausoleum.

She received full military honours in line with her status as a decorated member of the anti-Nazi partisans who fought in World War II, officials said.

Mrs Broz lived as a recluse in Belgrade after the death of her husband in 1980.

She was accused of plotting a coup, was placed under house arrest for a time, and had her identity papers taken away.

She lived in seclusion in the Belgrade suburb of Dedinje and rarely gave interviews.

However, in 2009 she spoke to the Politika daily about the period after her husband’s death.

“They chased me out… in my nightgown, without anything, not allowing me even to take a photo of the two of us, or a letter, a book,” she said.

“I was in isolation and treated like a criminal… I could not leave the house without armed guards.”

Serbia’s Prime Minister Ivica Dacic led the tributes at the funeral ceremony, calling Mrs Broz “our pride… against whom we committed sins”.

The BBC’s Guy De Launey in Belgrade says hundreds of people went to the ceremony at the residence Mrs Broz once shared with her husband.

Mourners included veterans of the same partisan unit in which she served during World War II.

Mrs Broz had been admitted to hospital in August in a serious condition, suffering from heart problems.

Her last wish was to be buried in the House of Flowers in Belgrade, next to Marshal Tito.

Jovanka Broz joins her husband at the House of Flowers

Jovanka Budisavljevic, an ethnic Serb, was born into a farming family in what is now Croatia on 7 December 1924.

She joined the partisans when she was just 17, remaining with them until the end of the war in 1945.

After her marriage to Yugoslavia’s authoritarian leader Josip Broz, known as Tito, she spent nearly three decades as first lady.

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