Galina Dzhugashvili

Stalin's granddaughter


Galina Yakovlevna Dzhugashvili, translator: born Moscow 1939; married (one son); died Moscow 27 August 2007.

Galina Dzhugashvili was the granddaughter of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin (né Dzhugashvili), and a survivor in a family many of whose members were imprisoned or poisoned, or who committed suicide. Her father, Lt Yakov Dzhugashvili, was the bullied and unloved eldest son of Stalin by his marriage to Yekaterina Svanidze. Galina's mother was Julia Meltser, a well-known Jewish beauty and cabaret dancer from Odessa who was married to her second husband, Nikolai Bessarab, when she met Yakov at one of Stalin's receptions. He became infatuated with her: there was a fight at the reception and shortly afterwards Yakov organised Julia's divorce from Bessarab and married her as his third wife. Bessarab was later arrested by the NKVD, Stalin's secret police, and executed. Stalin, who often humiliated his son – to the point where Yakov once even tried to commit suicide – was against all his marriages .

Galina (known as Galya) saw her father for the last time when she was three years old. He was taken prisoner by the Germans three weeks after the beginning of war in the Soviet Union in 1941 and was kept at Sachsenhausen concentration camp. After Stalin refused the exchange of his son for Field Marshal Friedrich von Paulus (commander of the 6th Army at Stalingrad) – "we do not exchange marshals for soldiers" – offered by the German High Command, Yakov Dzhugashvili, according to one account, threw himself on the barbed-wire fence or, according to another version, was shot by a guard when he came close to the fence. He died on 14 April 1943.

Galya told me she believed that Stalin had tried to save her father; that there had been three attempts to free him from the camp which failed. Twice, she said, a group of Chekist operatives tried to break in to the camp and one attempt was made by Communist operatives from Spain who lived in exile in Moscow after the Spanish Civil War.

Stalin regarded Russian prisoners of war as traitors. He had been furious when he was told that his son was a POW in Germany. Julia was arrested shortly afterwards and spent nearly two years in the Lubianka, the notorious Moscow Cheka prison. She had been in Germany before the war for medical reasons and was accused of maintaining connections with some of those she had met there and probably influencing her husband. "This was a lie", Galya said. She also told me that her mother was released from prison by Stalin's security officer, General Nikolai Vlasik. But there were rumours that Julia had become Vlasik's mistress.

Galya Dzhugashvili, when I met her for the first time in 1990, was a stunning beauty, an elegant and intelligent woman. She worked all her life as a French translator and was married to an Algerian Communist living in exile in Moscow. I once asked her whether she was afraid of Stalin. "Of course we were afraid of him," she said, "but behind his toughness, Stalin was like everybody else; he had his weaknesses. Sometimes he visited me and Svetlana, his daughter, at a dacha where one time we lived together - Stalin had five dachas - and he used to say: "You look very much like your father" so he loved us children, otherwise he wouldn't say such words."

During perestroika Galya and her husband lived in poverty, as the institute where she worked as a translator was closed. They only survived thanks to the foreign currency her husband received from Algiers. Their son, Selim, was born severely handicapped.

For many years she was busy with a memoir trying to prove that her father did not surrender to the Germans, and that he had behaved honourably. Recently her book "Mystery of Stalin's Family: my grandfather and my father" appeared under the name Galina Yakovlevna Dzhugashvili-Stalin, and it was claimed she "had disclosed Stalin's many secrets". The name "Stalin" was added no doubt by the publishers.

Jeanne Vronskaya

Sport
Premier League Live
footballLIVE Follow all the Premier League action as it happens
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + echSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
peopleTV star had been reported missing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, Linux, Shell, Bash)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone