How the Yugoslav army dealt with liabilities

This is an anecdote told by my wife occasionally.

Jana and I are from Slovenia, which used to be part of communist Yugoslavia. My wife's grandmother had a sister who used to work in Belgrade, in the headquarters of the Yugoslavian army, as an assistant or secretary. She was close to where important things happened.

As a hobby, she was into sewing / tailoring / knitting, and for this reason, she purchased West German magazines which were ubiquitous at the time – thick, heavy catalogs for people into this hobby; Burda was one of them. The army supervised people working in its headquarters, so they knew about her reading these magazines, and this was suspicious. She was interrogated about it more than once.

Eventually; some time in her middle age years – not soon enough for retirement; she wanted a change of scenery, to go live back home, and quit. At this point, she became untrusted and a liability, and the way they dealt with that is that they had her interned in a psychiatric hospital, and subjected to electroshocks and lobotomy, until she became hardly aware of herself; a shadow of the former human being.

She lived out the remainder of her life, up to age 80 or so, in this state. She spent these years in a home for assisted living, not far from where Jana's family lives. Most of the time, she could not tell you the date.


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