Tito's widow found in Belgrade squalor

Feb. 27, 2006 at 1:23 PM

BELGRADE, Serbia, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The 81-year-old widow of former Yugoslav communist dictator Josip Broz Tito has been found living in a rotting mansion with no heat in Belgrade.

Jovanka Broz has been living under house arrest in a fashionable district in a large villa that was last renovated in 1961. However, the building is almost a windowless ruin. Only two rooms are barely habitable and one of them has a large hole in the ceiling, The Telegraph reported.

The former Yugoslav first lady was placed under house arrest in the villa in 1977 after being dragged from the presidential home in her nightgown when Tito's aides suspected her of plotting a coup.

The Serbian minister of Minorities and Human Rights, Rasim Ljajic, has taken up her case.

"It's unbelievable," Ljajic said. "No one, let alone the widow of a former president, should live like this. The least we could do is fix the hole in the living room ceiling."

Joska Broz, Tito's grandson from his first marriage, told the newspaper he remembers her expulsion.

"After that, she cut off all contact with us and rejected all offers of help even though there was no (dispute)," her step-grandson said.

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