Why I Named Our Boat the ‘Marshal Tito’

Marshal Tito was quite a guy.  He successfully fought Hitler in World War II and managed to keep Yugoslavia the most free of the Communist satellite countries during the Cold War.  Slav people were considered sub-human in the Nazi system of belief, and they were in line for extermination as well. It is hard to even write these awful thoughts.  When Tito died in the early 80’s, ethnic war descended upon the peoples of what is now the former Yugoslavia.  This is one famous quote credited to Tito in a note written to Stalin, a man perhaps as maniacal as Hitler.

A note from Tito to Stalin…. 

“Stop sending people to kill me. We’ve already captured five of them, one of them with a bomb and another with a rifle (…) If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send a second.”

—Josip Broz Tito

Faced with the prospect of a poor salmon season in 1981, I crewed with some friends of mine for the Togiak (western Bristol Bay) herring fishery. The boat, the Ms B Haven and my friends were primarily Bristol Bay salmon fishermen. They told me that during the  salmon season the numerous Italian and equally numerous Croatian fishermen were always disparaging each others ethnicity on the radio. Finally, an indignant Italian came back with “Name me one famous Croatian, I can name famous Italians all day: there’s Sinatra…” After a long silence someone returned “Marshal Tito.” I had no choice but to name a boat after him. I’m glad I’m not Italian, I’d hate to have to fish a boat called the Sinatra-Jim Zuanich

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