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Crisis in Yugoslavia

Former Albright Benefactor Questions Current Campaign

April 17, 1999| From Reuters

NICOSIA, Cyprus — U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, while fleeing Nazi persecution as a child during World War II, was sheltered by a Serbian family in Yugoslavia, a Greek Cypriot magazine reported Friday.

Ljutko Popic, a Serb from the village of Vrinjetska Banja who produced photographs said to be of the Czech-born Albright as a child, told his story last week to a visiting Greek Cypriot journalist.

According to the Greek-language publication To Periodiko (The Magazine), Popic claimed he was Albright's "first love" and said he could not understand why U.S. planes are bombing his village.

The story was accompanied by a series of old black-and-white photographs, one of which shows a small boy and a plump little girl with their arms around each other.

The pictures, said to have been taken in 1939, were given to a Greek Cypriot journalist who joined a recent mission taking humanitarian aid to Serbs.

Popic told the reporter that he was the boy in the picture and the girl was a 4-year-old Madeleine.

He claimed that Albright's Jewish-Czech family took refuge in his village and stayed at his home.

Popic is quoted as saying "he could not understand" how Albright could now back the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's bombardment of Yugoslavia. He said he had sent a letter asking her to halt the airstrikes but had received no reply, the report said.

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