Historical Notes: The Death of Stalin's Son

Enraged by a quarrel-with his fellow inmates, a Russian prisoner burst from his barracks room in the Nazi concen tration camp at Sachsenhausen, 30 miles northwest of Berlin. It was the evening of April 14, 1943. Picking his way carefully between the maze of trip wires, the prisoner reached the camp fence, then turned around and defiantly called to a nearby SS guard: "Don't be a coward. Shoot, shoot." When the prisoner made a grab for the fence, the guard fired one bullet. It instantly killed the elder son of Joseph Stalin.

The U.S. State Department last week...