|Tito's grave, House of Flowers|
It may not suit some of today's ultra-nationalist historians to remember, but Tito's death in May 1980 was met by genuinely felt grief across the former Yugoslavia. The most graphic illustration, perhaps, was at the football match between Croatia's Hajduk Split, and Red Star Belgrade from the capital; the game was stopped, half way through, to announce the death, and both sets of players wept openly. (Red Star went onto win 3-1, a victory that would normally have ensured substantial bragging rights for their fans, but the result went by almost unnoticed.) On the same night, as you can see in this youtube clip, the TV newsreader struggled and largely failed to keep a check on his emotions:
Tito died in hospital in Ljubljana, and his body was carried around all parts of Yugoslavia before being laid to rest at the House of Flowers. It's a marker of how much has changed in the subsequent thirty years, that an ex-JNA Colonel, having re-trained as an academic following the end of Yugoslavia, is now selling his self published book on Tito from the back of a battered Lada Zhiguli outside the museum.
|Jovanka Broz Tito getting off an aeroplane, Belgrade, 1959|
|Croatian fashion, May 1945: Partizans liberate Jelačić Square in the centre of Zagreb|
|Croatian fashion c. 1960: a woman at work on the "Highway of Brotherhood and Unity" between Belgrade & Zagreb|
The exhibition space here is rather fascinating, but the overall impression of the mausoleum is one of a cloying sadness; that of a great historical figure from a time past, little remembered or noticed in a fast moving contemporary world, in which his ideas and concepts no longer really apply.