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Yakov Dzhugashvili (Stalin)
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Celebrity's Relative
    (March 18, 1907-circa April 14, 1943)
    Born in Russian Empire
    Yakov Iosifovich Jugashvili
    Josef Stalin's eldest son
    Born to Stalin's first wife, Kato Svanidze (1885-1907)
    Served as a Commander in the Red Army during the Second World War
    Captured by German forces and held captive as a prisoner of war; reportedly was shot during an attempted escape from a Nazi concentration camp, probably Sachsenhausen
    He had a tense, adversarial relationship with his father, who saw him as weak.
    He was known as a highly-sensitive youth who struggled with depression (turning to the bottle to cope with it).
    One famous story has it that - when he brought his Jewish fiancé home for his father's blessing - Stalin grew enraged and drove her off.
    Heartbroken, he retreated to his bedroom and attempted to shoot himself in the heart with a handgun. He missed and hit his lung instead.
    While his stepmother was tending to his wound and called the doctor, Stalin was quoted to have said: 'He can't even shoot straight.'
    There was ongoing debate for years as to whether he was actually captured by the Nazis, or deserted from the Soviet Army and 'allowed himself' to be captured.
    Further confusion exists as to the exact nature of his death; whether he was shot trying to escape from the prison camp, or whether he threw himself against the barbed wire fence in yet another attempt at suicide.
    Later reports confirmed that he had most likely deserted; reportedly calling the Russian army 'poorly organized' at the time of his surrender.
    He was mostly raised by his grandmother and his aunts, from Tiflis.
    His mother died of typhus when he was less than a year old.
    Some have theorized that his father's near-hatred of him was rooted in his belief that Kato's pregnancy with him had caused her death a year after his birth (some claimed she was the only woman he ever loved).
    He eventually married a Jewish dancer from Odessa, Julia Meltzer. Although initially opposed on anti-Semitic grounds, Stalin eventually took a liking to his new wife.
    Nonetheless, as soon as he found out that Yakov had been captured, he had Julia arrested, separated from her three-year-old daughter and sent to the gulag for two years (his contempt for prisoners of war was well known, as he saw them all as deserters).
    His capture was a dream come true for the Nazis, who used him for anti-Russian propaganda (distributing flyers reading 'Do not shed your blood for Stalin! His own son has surrendered!').
    Stalin was less than thrilled when the Germans offered to trade his son they were holding hostage for a high-ranking German officer, and allegedly replied in a curt manner: 'I will not trade a Marshal for a Lieutenant.'
    Some accounts also offer a quote Stalin likely never said - 'I have no son in the Russian army' (it should be known that Stalin actually organized several rescue attempts to free his son from captivity).
    Declassified files indicated that his death was likely not a suicide, but retaliation from a guard for his refusal to obey orders (he reportedly yelled 'shoot' before taking a bullet to the head).
    Although Stalin had been convinced that his son had deserted to the enemy, it was said that his opinion of his son softened considerably after learning of his death.
    He reportedly befriended Polish inmates during his imprisonment, and was distraught when a mass grave of Polish officers killed in the Katyn Massacre ordered by his father was unearthed in 1943 (for years it was maintained that this was the reason for his 'suicide').

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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