Genrikh Yagoda was born in 1891 to a Jewish family in Russian-occupied Poland (Lodz, Poland). After the October Revolution, he joined the Communist secret police (the Cheka). He took part in the Red Terror and 1930 took charge of forced labour camps (the gulags). He targeted Christians for special persecution and many of them died in the Gulags. In 1937, Yagoda fell foul of Joseph Stalin, who accused him of ploting to overthrow the government. He was put on trial, found guilty and executed on March 15, 1938.