Everyone knows Joseph Stalin, but most aren’t familiar with his familial life, particularly his eldest son, Yakov.
The tumultuous relationship between father and son created a story that spanned a difficult youth, the German invasion of the Soviet Union and a Nazi concentration camp.
Yakov was born to Stalin’s first wife, in 1907. He was born in what was at the time Imperial Russia, and his mother died of typhus only a few months after his birth.
Yakov was mostly raised by his other female relatives, his aunts and grandmother. He was encouraged at a young age to go to Moscow to seek out an education.
From his youth onward, Yakov and Stalin did not get along, with Stalin being quite judgmental of his son, looking down on him in almost every way. As a young man, Yakov attempted suicide after a disagreement with his father over Yakov’s Jewish fiancee.
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