Yakov Dzhugashvili was the only son that Stalin had with his first wife, Ekaterina.
On this day, the son of Soviet dictator Stalin was killed in a Nazi concentration camp. His name was Yakov Iosifovich Dzhugashvili and he was the only son that Stalin had with his first wife Ekaterina Svanidze. Of course, Yakov inherited the name Dzhugashvili from Stalin, whose real name was Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili.
Stalin married his first wife while still young (she was 21 years old, and he was 27). They had a son, Yakov, the year after the wedding. However, the young mother died when Yakov was a baby of about 8 months, so the boy grew up with his relatives in Georgia (during the pre-revolutionary era Stalin was often in prison as a dangerous dissident).
Yakov and Stalin apparently never got along. Among other things, conflicts were caused by Yakov’s wedding with the Jewish dancer Julia Meltzer (Stalin was an anti-Semite).
After Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union began, Yakov Dzhugashvili was soon captured by the Germans (three-and-a-half weeks after the start of the German invasion). It is unclear how he was actually captured (there are theories that he surrendered to the Germans at the instigation of his wife). Yakov was placed in a German concentration camp.
Later, the Germans allegedly offered Stalin a trade – they wanted to exchange Yakov for the famous Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus (captured at Stalingrad). However, Stalin refused supposedly saying: “I will not trade a Marshal for a Lieutenant”.
On this day Yakov was killed in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, north of Berlin. The exact circumstances of his death are unclear. According to the initial official report, Yakov was killed by running into the electric fence surrounding the camp. However, later discovered archival sources indicate that he was killed by a guard after Yakov refused to obey commands.