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Yakov Dzhugashvili

Yakov Iosifovich Dzhugashvili (Georgian: იაკობ ჯუღაშვილი, Russian: Яков Иосифович Джугашвили) (18 March 1907 – 14 April 1943) was one of Joseph Stalin's four children (along with Svetlana Alliluyeva, Vasily Dzhugashvili and Constantine Kuzakov). Yakov was the son of Stalin's first wife, Ekaterina Svanidze.


Yakov was born in the village of Borji (near Kutaisi) in Georgia, then part of Imperial Russia. Until the age of fourteen, Yakov was raised by his aunt in Tbilisi. In 1921, Yakov’s uncle Alexander Svanidze urged him to leave for Moscow to acquire a higher education. Yakov only spoke Georgian and after his arrival in Moscow he commenced with learning the Russian language, aiming to apply for University studies.

Yakov and his father Stalin never got along. Allegedly once Stalin referred to Yakov as a "mere cobbler." Later according to Yakov's stepmother Nadezhda Alliluyeva she saw a young girl running away from their Moscow dacha in tears. When she entered she saw a despairing Yakov looking near faint in the room. He ran immediately to his bedroom. It turned out that the girl was Yakov's Jewish fiancée, and when they told Stalin of their engagement he became enraged.

While Stalin and his wife were arguing about this a shot was heard from Yakov's room. Yakov had shot himself. While she tended to his wounds and sent for a doctor all his father said was, "He can't even shoot straight."[1]

Dzhugashvili did marry Yulia Meltzer, a well-known Jewish dancer from Odessa. After meeting Yulia at a reception, Yakov fought with her second husband, Nikolai Bessarab, and arranged her divorce. Bessarab was later arrested by the NKVD and executed. Yakov became her third husband and was survived by two children. His son, Yevgeni, gave many interviews about his grandfather. He also had a daughter, Galina, who died in 2007.[2]

German propaganda 1941. "Do not shed your blood for Stalin! He has already fled to Samara! His own son has surrendered! If Stalin's son has saved himself, then you are not obliged to sacrifice yourself either!"

Dzhugashvili served as an artillery officer in the Red Army and was captured in the early stages of the German invasion of USSR at the Battle of Smolensk. The Germans later offered to exchange Yakov for Friedrich Paulus, the German Field Marshal captured by the Soviets after the Battle of Stalingrad, but Stalin turned the offer down, allegedly saying "I will not trade a Marshal for a Lieutenant". There was another proposition as well, that Hitler wanted to exchange Yakov for his nephew Leo Raubal; this proposition was not accepted either[3][4]

It is not clear when and how he died. According to the official German account, Dzhugashvili died by running into an electric fence in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he was being held. Some have contended that Yakov committed suicide at the camp while others have suggested that he was murdered.

In 2003, the United States Defense Department was in possession of documents which indicated that Yakov Dzhugashvili was shot trying to escape, which were shown to his daughter Galina Dzhugashvili, but which she rejected, claiming that her father was never taken prisoner by the Germans, but rather was killed in battle in 1941.


  1. ^ Hartston, William. Encyclopedia of Useless Information. Naperville, Illinous: Sourcebooks, Inc. 2007. 350.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Tolstoy, Nikolai (1978). The secret betrayal. New York: Scribner. pp. 296. ISBN 0-684-15635-0.  
  4. ^ Bailey, Ronald Albert (1981). Prisoners of war. Alexandria, Va.: Time-Life Books. pp. 123. ISBN 0-8094-3391-5.  

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