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Madame Nhu
Birth: Apr. 15, 1924
Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Vietnam
Death: Apr. 24, 2011
Rome
Lazio, Italy

Political Figure. Called the "Dragon Lady" after a cartoon character of the day, she was the influential and controversial First Lady of South Vietnam in the early days of independence from France. Born Tran Le Xuan ("Beautiful Spring") to a wealthy and distinguished family, she was educated in France, always used French as her first language, and never did learn to write in Vietnamese. In 1943 she married the somewhat older Ngo Dinh Nhu and embraced his family's Catholic faith and anti-Communist politics. Captured by Communist troops when Hue was overrun in 1946, she was held prisoner for two months until freed by the French; her maltreatment in captivity hardened her hatred of Communism. When colonial rule in French Indochina ended in 1955 Madame Nhu's unmarried brother-in-law Ngo Dinh Diem became the first President of South Viet Nam. Exiled to a Hong Kong convent for public statements urging Diem to deal strongly with his opposition, she was returned and installed as surrogate First Lady when Diem decided to follow her advice. Known for her good looks, which she was not afraid to show off in tight, low cut dresses, as well as for her sharp tongue and lack of tact, she became a magnet both for photographers and for opponents of the Diem regime. Elected to the National Assembly in 1956, she helped expand women's rights but drew criticism for legislation against adultery and divorce. Madame Nhu became Diem's counsellor, public voice, and lightning rod, but as opposition to the government's harsh measures increased so did her resolve and her hatred for the American press which she equated with the Communists. When Buddhist students were arrested in the summer of 1963 and monks began immolating themselves in protest, she drew anger for inviting the world to the "barbecue"; eventually even Madame Nhu's parents felt compelled to resign their diplomatic posts in the United States. After Nhu and Diem were assassinated on November 2, 1963, she went into exile and lived in France and Italy for the remainder of her life. Never softening her views, she said that America "preaches the liberty of the jungle". (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Ngo Dinh Nhu (1910 - 1963)
 
Burial:
Unknown
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Apr 27, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 68968437
Madame Nhu
Added by: Bob Hufford
 
Madame Nhu
Added by: Bob Hufford
 
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 Added: Apr. 24, 2014

- Bob Hufford
 Added: Apr. 15, 2014

- Janis Coleman
 Added: Apr. 15, 2014
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