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Elena Ceausescu
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    (January 17, 1916-December 25, 1989)
    Born in Petresti, Romania
    Birth name was Elena Petrescu
    Wife of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu
    Vice Prime Minister of Romania (1980-89)
    When she dropped out of school at 14, she was flunking every class except singing, gymnastics and sewing.
    She was expelled from night school after being caught cheating on a chemistry exam.
    Thanks to her husband's influence, she received a PhD, was appointed to the National Council of Scientific Research and was listed as an author of numerous scientific papers.
    Following a trip to China, she modeled her rise to political power on Mao's wife Jiang Qing.
    As head of the state health commission, she played a key role in denying that AIDS existed in Romania.
    According to her bodyguard, she had Nicolae's offices bugged.
    She said of the Romanian people, 'The worms are never satisfied, no matter how much food you give them.'
    She met Nicolae after being elected queen of a May Day parade (1939).
    She received an honorary membership in Britain's Royal Society of Chemistry.
    After a 55-minute show trial, she and her husband were executed by a firing squad on Christmas Day.

Credit: C. Fishel

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