Ahmadiyya Jabrayilov - French Resistance Hero
The story of Ahmadiyya – born on 22 September 1920 in Sheki, an old city in the north-west of Azerbaijan – is one of patriotism, valour, luck, and tenacity. As one of the 240,000 Soviet soldiers taken prisoner whilst launching an offensive against the Nazis near the Izyum Bridge over the Don, Ahmadiyya was transferred to many camps, eventually ending up in a camp in Frankfurt-an-der-Oder, near the Polish border, for Soviet soldiers. Refusing to join the Nazi cause he decided to escape and rejoin the Soviet Army. Surviving forced labour and considered to be Jewish, he underwent sadistic experiments with hydrogen cyanide, but thereafter succeeded to escape and join the French Resistance.
As a part of French Resistance he blew up those restaurants and cafés known to be frequented by Nazi officers, and sabotaged bridges and railway lines. Nicknamed ‘Kharko’, the Gestapo placed a price of DM10,000 on his head, and he joined the Maquis of Cabertat in 1944. Following the liberation of Toulouse in September 1944, he met General Charles de Gaulle, and after the liberation of the Midi–Pyrénées, he joined the Third Hussars Regiment, with whom he participated in the Battle of the Vosges and the liberation of Mulhouse and Belfort.
Thereafter, he was repatriated to the Soviet Union, following the Franco–Soviet Pact, where was tortured by the NKVD (Soviet Intelligence Service) and condemned to forced labour. However, his bravery was belatedly recognised in 1966, when President General de Gaulle made his second visit to the Soviet Union. By this time, he had returned to Sheki, but General de Gaulle’s request to see him resulted in overnight fame. He became a National Hero of France, and received the Croix de Guerre, the Cross of Military Valour and the Medal of the French Resistance, amongst other acknowledgements. Ahmadiyya also toured the regions of France that he helped to liberate, and met many of his Resistance friends. His life was ended at the age of 74 by a car accident in Sheki in 1994.
A number of books and documentaries dedicated to Ahmadiyya Jabrayilov – National Hero of France - perpetuated his memory through all generation and people of France and Azerbaijan will praise him for good.
On August 11, 2020, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan signed an Order “On the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Ahmadiyya Jabrayilov”.
It is worth to note that his son - Mikayil Jabrayilov followed glorious path of his father. He heroically died in 1990 while defending his homeland - Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan from the Armenian military aggression. Mikayil Jabrayilov was posthumously awarded the title of "National Hero of Azerbaijan".