The Tragic Story Of Yakov Dzhugashvili, Stalin’s Abandoned Son

The oldest son of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, Yakov Dzhugashvili’s life was marked with tragedy, in the end culminating in his grotesque dying in a German focus camp.

Wikimedia CommonsHitler tried to change Stalin’s first son Yakov Dzhugashvili for a captured German subject marshal, however the Soviet dictator declined.

In 1907, Joseph Stalin wasn’t often known as the chief of the Soviet Union. In truth, he wasn’t often known as Joseph Stalin in any respect. He was a Marxist robber from a poor household, a would-be priest had he not rebelled and turn out to be an atheist. His title was Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili.

That 12 months, Dzhugashvili robbed a financial institution in Tiflis, stealing about $3.4 million for the Bolshevik trigger and securing his place amongst Vladimir Lenin’s most coveted followers. That similar 12 months, Dzhugashvili’s spouse, Yekaterina Svanidze, gave delivery to his first son, Yakov Dzhugashvili.

However, there was no time for the household to rejoice. Tzarist police have been looking Dzhugashvili, and the household was compelled to flee to Baku in Azerbaijan. Along the best way, Iosif’s spouse fell unwell with typhus, and solely 9 months after their son’s delivery, she handed away at simply 22.

Overcome with grief, Iosif Dzhugashvili adopted a brand new title: Joseph Stalin, “Man of Steel.” He plunged himself additional into his revolutionary duties, leaving his son Yakov to be raised by his lifeless spouse’s household in Tbilisi.

Meanwhile, as his father was preventing alongside Lenin within the Russian Revolution, Yakov Dzhugashvili remained along with his aunt, rising right into a delicate and withdrawn younger man. Then in 1921, his father despatched for him — launching him on a tumultuous path.

Yakov Dzhugashvili And Joseph Stalin’s Tense Relationship

If Joseph Stalin was something, it was ruthless. Certainly, his lack of compassion aided him and his fellow Bolshevik revolutionaries, however when it got here to issues of the guts, Stalin was as distant as a dying star.

While Stalin’s mom had been a extra caring mother or father pushing for her son to guide an excellent life and turn out to be a priest, his personal father was an alcoholic and a violent drunk. Stalin, very like his father earlier than him, bodily and emotionally abused his personal son, Dzhugashvili. He forbade him from altering his final title to Stalin. For all of the title entailed, the message was clear: Yakov Dzhugashvili would by no means be a “Stalin.”

Some historians consider Stalin’s disdain for Dzhugashvili stemmed from the boy’s similarities to his mom — the ever-grieving Stalin couldn’t bear the resemblance. At her funeral, Yekaterina’s relations recalled that Stalin had seemingly misplaced his thoughts and jumped into the grave carrying his spouse’s physique.

Joseph Stalin

Getty ImagesJoseph Stalin was chilly and ruthless, each as a frontrunner and as a father.

When Dzhugashvili ultimately got here to reside with Stalin, he discovered that his father had remarried and had two children along with his second spouse, Nadezhda Alliluyeva. Dzhugashvili’s brother, Vasily Stalin, was born in 1921, and his sister, Svetlana, was born in 1926.

Each little one skilled their very own private tragedy — Vasily was a heavy drinker later in life, and Svetlana, although Stalin’s clear favourite, needed to cope with her mom’s suicide at age six — however Dzhugashvili’s relationship was maybe probably the most tumultuous.

A Suicide Attempt And Joining The Military

Stalin and Dzhugashvili’s relationship grew tenser when, within the late Twenties, Dzhugashvili met a younger lady named Zoya Gunina, the daughter of an Orthodox priest.

Dzhugashvili and Zoya started dwelling collectively and ultimately determined to marry. The two arrived on the Stalin dacha — a small cottage usually used as a trip residence — to announce their resolution to Stalin. Rather than celebrating, although, Stalin flew right into a violent rage.

His anger was so intense that it precipitated Zoya to flee the house in terror. Yakov Dzhugashvili, as soon as once more failing to appease his father, fell right into a state of nervous delirium.

Brandishing a pistol, Yakov Dzhugashvili fired a bullet into his chest, trying to shoot himself within the coronary heart. Instead, he missed, and the bullet traveled into his lung. Nadezhda bandaged the younger man’s chest and referred to as for a physician.

According to at least one model of the story reported by Defense Media Network, Stalin shook his head and dismissively mentioned to his son, “You can’t even do this properly.”

Yakov Dzhugashvili and Zoya did ultimately marry, however their life collectively was something however completely happy. The daughter they’d collectively died early in infancy, and the wedding lasted lower than two years.

Not lengthy after in 1941, Dzhugashvili enrolled within the Red Army Artillery Academy at his father’s insistence. He had been a turbine engineer previous to becoming a member of the academy, however by the point he left, Senior Lieutenant Yakov Dzhugashvili had been appointed commander of an artillery battery — just one month previous to the German invasion of the USSR.

Captured By German Soldiers And Abandoned

Dzhugashvili was a reserve fighter within the Red Army, however when struggle broke out he was despatched to battle as if he have been simply one other typical commander. Rather than seeing him off personally, Stalin referred to as his son on the phone and shouted at him, “Go and fight!”

Dzhugashvili’s time on the battlefield was short-lived, nonetheless. In early July 1941, Dzhugashvili and members of his twentieth Army surrendered to German troops in Belorussia. Dzhugashvili tried to flee on the sixteenth however to no avail.

Stalin's Son Yakhov Dzhugashvili And German Officers

Global Look PressAs a prisoner, Dzhugashvili was handled nicely because the Germans needed to win him over in a propoganda ploy.

Several of Yakov Dzhugashvili’s servicemen betrayed his id to the Germans, however the Nazis had no intention of executing or torturing him.

Instead, they handled him civilly, and once they interrogated him, they questioned him extra about his private and political beliefs than they did about navy issues. Their final plan was to entice Dzhugashvili into becoming a member of their facet, utilizing the highly effective Nazi propaganda machine to show how Stalin’s personal son betrayed him.

That similar propaganda machine ensured that information of Yakov Dzhugashvili’s seize was broadly publicized, and although Dzhugashvili had been taken captive towards his will, the Nazis publicly claimed he willingly surrendered.

At first, Stalin believed this model of occasions. But as extra data trickled in, he grew to become conscious that his son had certainly been taken towards his will and had not betrayed his nation.

A Gruesome Death At A Concentration Camp

Stalin tried a number of discreet rescue makes an attempt to get better Dzhugashvili from the Germans, however every was unsuccessful.

Around the identical time, Hitler provided Stalin a deal: the Germans would change his son for Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus, who the Russians took prisoner at Stalingrad. In response, Stalin mentioned, “I do not trade field marshals for lieutenants.”

As Russia Beyond reported, Red Army Marshal Georgy Zhukov wrote in his private journal that he had requested Stalin about Dzhugashvili and Stalin mentioned to him, “Yakov won’t get out of captivity. The Fascists will shoot him … No, Yakov would prefer death to betraying the Motherland.”

Stalin’s phrases proved to be true, and his son endured in defying the Germans’ makes an attempt at cooperation. Their beforehand sort therapy grew harsh, and ultimately they misplaced all curiosity in Yakov Dzhugashvili.

Then, on April 14, 1943, Dzhugashvili tried to flee the Nazi focus camp at Sachsenhausen, historic notes from TIME said. Dzhugashvili rigorously navigated a maze of journey wires and reached the fence on the fringe of the camp.

German Propaganda Stalin's Son

Public DomainGerman propaganda from 1941 that reads, “This is Yakov Dzhugashvili, Stalin’s son and artillery officer … who on 16 July has surrendered near Vitebsk, together with thousands of other soldiers and officers … Follow his example – he is alive and well, and feels great … Why do you fight to the death when even the son of your leader has surrendered?”

At this level, Stalin’s son is claimed to have defiantly shouted at a close-by S.S. guard, “Don’t be a coward! Shoot, shoot!” And then he made a seize for the fence, with the guard firing a single bullet.

While the official story put out by Nazis on the time claimed that Yakov Dzhugashvili was gunned down throughout an escape try — they launched images of his bullet-riddled corpse — current perception has revealed that Dzhugashvili’s “escape” try was truly extra seemingly an act of suicide.

Feeling deserted by his father, Yakov Dzhugashvili threw himself into an electrified fence in search of to finish his life.

Professor John Erickson, an authority on the Soviet-German battlefront, informed Defense Media Network {that a} 12-year investigation revealed that “the guard certainly shot Yakov four times, but it is now known that he fired the bullets into Yakov’s already dead body.”

The Legacy Of Yakov Dzhugashvili

After the struggle, unaware of what had occurred to his son, Stalin provided a $250,000 reward in East Germany to anybody who might present particulars of his dying. According to his daughter, Svetlana, in her e-book Twenty Letters to a Friend, Stalin solely knew that Yakov had been shot, however not the place or why.

In 1945, U.S. and British intelligence discovered a German file on Dzhugashvili which included an post-mortem report, depositions from guards and prisoners, photos of Yakov’s physique stretched out alongside the fence, and a letter from Nazi Commander Heinrich Himmler confirming Dzhugashvili’s dying.

Aware of this data, President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill determined to withhold it from Stalin so as to spare him any private struggling.

Yakov Dzhugashvili was posthumously awarded the Order of the Patriotic War first-class in 1977.

If you or somebody you recognize is considering suicide, name the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or use their 24/7 Lifeline Crisis Chat.

After this take a look at the tragic lifetime of Yakov Dzhugashvili, be taught concerning the dying of Joseph Stalin. Then, find out about Vasily Blokhin, the executioner who killed 7,000 Poles in the course of the Katyn Massacre.


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