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Madame Nhu
Birth: Apr. 15, 1924, Vietnam
Death: Apr. 24, 2011
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 hardening 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 fashion model 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, who ultimately disowned and disinherited her, 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, lived in France and Italy for the remainder of her life, granted occasional interviews, and died following a protracted illness. Never softening her views, she said that America "preaches the liberty of the jungle". While she certainly had no love for President Kennedy and even blamed him for her husband's murder, allegations that she was somehow complicit in the JFK Assassination are probably a bit farfetched. Her story is told in Monique Brinson Demery's 2013 "Finding the Dragon Lady: The Mystery of Madame Nhu". (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
Family links: 
  Chuong Van Tran (1898 - 1986)
  Than Thi Nam Tran (1910 - 1986)
  Ngo Dinh Nhu (1910 - 1963)
  Thuy Le Dinh Ngo (1945 - 1967)*
  Quyen Le Dinh Ngo (1959 - 2012)*
*Calculated relationship
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Specifically: Ashes given to her children
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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- Lance
 Added: Jun. 16, 2017
God bless you on your Angel Day. May you rest in peace.
 Added: Apr. 23, 2017
Happy Heavenly Birthday and Happy Easter.
 Added: Apr. 14, 2017
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Current ranking for this person: (3.9 after 37 votes)

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