By Laman Ismayilova
Azerbaijan’s national postal stamp agency (Azermarka) has issued a postage stamp timed to the 100th anniversary of representative of the anti-fascist Resistance movement Ahmadiyya Jabrailov.
The post stamp displays a Wehrmacht soldier pasting a wanted poster for Ahmadiyya Jabrailov in Paris. The stamp also features the images of Eiffel Tower and the emblem of Maquis, one of the groups of the French Resistance Movement.
Along with the postage stamp, envelopes were also released and put up for sale.
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.
Refusing to join the Nazis, he decided to escape and rejoin the Red Army. Ahmadiyya joined the Maquis of Cabertat in 1944. Following the liberation of Toulouse in September 1944, Ahmadiyya Jabrayilov 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 forcibly repatriated to the Soviet Union, following the Franco–Soviet Pact.
His bravery was belatedly recognized 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.
Nicknamed "Chargo", 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.
The story of Ahmadiyya Jabrayilov was highlighted in many books and documentaries. One of the streets in Sheki is named after him.
Ahmadiyya Jabrayilov received the Legion d’Honneur, one of the highest official recognitions. He was also declared National Hero of France.
There is also a house-museum of Ahmadiya Jabrayilov in Sheki, opened by his son, Javanshir Jabrayilov.
In November 2007, the French embassy in Azerbaijan, Baku French Cultural Centre and Sheki Museum organized the exhibition "He was called Armed Michele in France" dedicated to the hero. Photos, documents and film about the life of Ahmadiya Jabrayilov were presented at the exhibition
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz