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Ahmadiyya Jabrayilov

Ahmadiyya Jabrayilov

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Ahmadiyya Mikail ogly Jabrayilov was a celebrated Azerbaijani
Azerbaijani people
The Azerbaijanis are a Turkic-speaking people living mainly in northwestern Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as in the neighbourhood states, Georgia, Russia and formerly Armenia. Commonly referred to as Azeris or Azerbaijani Turks , they also live in a wider area from the Caucasus to...

 activist of the French Resistance
French Resistance
The French Resistance is the name used to denote the collection of French resistance movements that fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and against the collaborationist Vichy régime during World War II...


When World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 started, he was drafted into the Soviet Army
Soviet Army
The Soviet Army is the name given to the main part of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union between 1946 and 1992. Previously, it had been known as the Red Army. Informally, Армия referred to all the MOD armed forces, except, in some cases, the Soviet Navy.This article covers the Soviet Ground...

. In May 1942 he was severely wounded, taken prisoner by the Nazis
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 and sent to a concentration camp in Montauban
Montauban is a commune in the Tarn-et-Garonne department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in southern France. It is the capital of the department and lies north of Toulouse....

. With the assistance of French personnel of the camp he managed to escape, and joined the Maquis
Maquis (World War II)
The Maquis were the predominantly rural guerrilla bands of the French Resistance. Initially they were composed of men who had escaped into the mountains to avoid conscription into Vichy France's Service du travail obligatoire to provide forced labour for Germany...

, among whom he became known as Ahmad Michele. Being fluent in German, he became involved in intelligence and sabotage operations.

Jabrayilov became known for his brave actions in battle. He was again severely wounded during an operation to rescue 500 children, who were being deported as a labor force to Germany. Dressed as a German army captain, with a German I.D. on him, he was picked up by a German patrol and delivered to a military hospital. After treatment in hospital he was appointed deputy to the German commandant of the town of Albi. He used this position to free hundreds of prisoners from German captivity. The German command offered a reward of 10,000 Reichsmarks
German reichsmark
The Reichsmark was the currency in Germany from 1924 until June 20, 1948. The Reichsmark was subdivided into 100 Reichspfennig.-History:...

 for the head of Jabrayilov. However Jabrayilov continued his daring actions against the Germans until the end of the war. He personally knew the leader of the French Resistance Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....


For his services Jabrayilov received high military decorations of France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, amongst others the orders of the Légion d'honneur
Légion d'honneur
The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

, the Croix de guerre
Croix de guerre
The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts...

and the Croix du combattant volontaire
Croix du combattant volontaire 1939–1945
The Croix du combattant volontaire 1939–1945 is a French decoration that recognizes those who have volunteered to serve in a combat unit during World War II. It is the World War II equivalent of the Croix du Combattant Volontaire 1914–1918.-History:This decoration is equivalent to that awarded to...

. After the end of World War II he was granted French citizenship and worked for the French government. However, in 1948 he decided to return to his native country.

In the USSR, he was accused of treason, and persecuted by the NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

, as were most other former Soviet POWs. Eventually he was not arrested, but was allowed to work only as a shepherd in the local kolkhoz
A kolkhoz , plural kolkhozy, was a form of collective farming in the Soviet Union that existed along with state farms . The word is a contraction of коллекти́вное хозя́йство, or "collective farm", while sovkhoz is a contraction of советское хозяйство...

. He was deprived of his decorations, which were kept in a museum, and lived in obscurity until the early 1960s, when French war veterans started inquiring about their friend.

In 1966, French President Charles de Gaulle expressed a wish to see Jabrayilov during his first visit to the USSR. Jabrayilov was immediately brought from his village to Moscow to meet de Gaulle, after which he was recognized as a hero of World War II in the Soviet Union. In 1975 he was allowed to travel to France to meet with his former comrades-in-arms. He received a number of Soviet decorations, including the Order of the October Revolution
Order of the October Revolution
The Order of the October Revolution was instituted on October 31, 1967, in time for the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. It was awarded to individuals or groups for services furthering communism or the state, or in enhancing the defenses of the Soviet Union, military and civil...