As I was flipping through the pages of my baby book in search of an idea for my other blog, Mommymeanderings, I found a copy of Stars and Stripes, which is a newspaper focused on the U.S. Armed Forces. I then decided that it’s time for Do Svidanya Dad to make a brief reappearance.
On the back page, just below the fold, I found a fascinating story titled “Sons of Stalin, Blum Shared German Cell.” It turned out that the son of the infamous leader of the Soviet Union and the son of the Prime Minister of France were cellmates during World War II.
Stalin’s son had joined the Soviet Army after the invasion of his country by Germany—the invasion which my father learned about when he arrived in Honolulu en route back to America. Stalin’s son was taken prisoner just one month later, which Stalin considered to be a traitorous act. “There are no prisoners of war, only traitors.” (Nice guy!)
In researching this incident, I learned that the families of such prisoners of war were treated quite harshly. After her husband’s arrest, Stalin’s daughter-in-law was arrested and sent off to a Soviet gulag, where she remained until Stalin finally secured her arrest.
What I found most interesting about the article in Stars and Stripes was that the son’s name was Jakob Dzhugashvili, not Jakob Stalin. Apparently, Dzhugashvili was Stalin’s birth name. Stalin was his revolutionary name, which means “man of steel.” Maybe everyone else knew that fact, but it was news to me.
As far as I am concerned, the only “man of steel” to ever live was Superman. I would never consider that to be an appropriate name for Josef Stalin!