Family Holiday Journal December 21, 2008: Visit to the 25th of May Museum

Lil’ angel Oliver sure looks holy in this photo. We stopped at the St. Sava’s Cathedral with his grandfather, Hermes Chavez (affectionately known as “Popa” by the boys) to show him the scaffolding. Hermes owns a scaffolding rental and sales business in his hometown of Santa Cruz. The cathedral is under restoration now that is is finally peaceful in Serbia.

The girls (Alejandra & Nadia) went with Brad & Ocean to the big outdoor market downtown while Hermes and I took the boys the cathedral. We then visited the 25th of May Museum. The museum holds memorabilia and the mausoleum of the former Yugoslav leader, Josip Broz “Tito”. The museum is named after his birthday. The day used to be huge in Yugoslavia. One of the events was the annual running of the baton across the country by socialist youth. The boys were fascinated with the different batons.

They wanted to know which baton was the oldest (1945) and the newest (1985). The first was right after WWII when the Partisans rid the country of the Nazis, and the final one was five years after the death of Tito. There was a wall display of different batons that were gifts to Tito. The boys were picking their favorites. Most had very cool socialist themes. There was the heavy industry factory baton, a red star on top of a standard screwdriver, another with a JNA tank, a rocket missile, etc. Perhaps I’ll have them make their own batons in the Communist Style of the 60’s and 70’s. A big part of the complex is showcasing the gifts Tito received from Heads of State and Yugoslav citizens throughout the years. The current exhibition were a display of all of his hunting rifles and equipment. He was a big-time hunter and there were antler trophies mixed in with the guns, and photos and videos of his hunting trips. Tito started the Non-Aligned Movement and the museum housed many gifts from developing countries including an elephant tusk gong from Burma and a devil carnival mask and costume from Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. My only criticism of the museum is I would have liked a bit more information about his career and personality. I envisioned the place like the Carter Center or Clinton Library, that would be a place to for scholars to study the writings, photographs, etc. of Tito. It was more a showcase of his gifts more than anything else. It does hold his remains. Owen asked should we say a prayer when I explained that his remains were probably buried under the big marble tombstone. I replied that he was an atheist and didn’t believe in God so we shouldn’t.The museum is close to our house, located between Haid Park and the Partizan Football Stadium.

For a man that believed in communist ideals, he sure lived a life of luxury.

The boys yearned to be good socialist youth!
The boys yearned to be good socialist youth!

Oliver, Owen, and Sebey loved running around the complex. The grounds were nice although a bit neglected. They were running up and down the hills and stairs and in between the many trees. We then went home and played soccer in the yard with Brad. Nadia is cooking a delicious soup while everyone else is playing Wii.