It’s thought that in addition to physical characteristics, we also inherit some of our parent’s personality traits – both the good and the bad. However, if your pop was a mass murderer, Nazi leader or torturer, you’d probably hope that this wasn’t the case. Indeed, the evil fathers featured here – including Hitler, Stalin and Gaddafi – perpetrated some of the most heinous crimes in the history of the world. And while some of their offspring publicly denounced their dads or turned out to be nothing like them, others seemingly each had their father’s cruelty written in their genes. As the old saying goes, “like father, like son.” Here, then, is our list of 20 children of some of the most evil men in history.
20. Joseph Goebbels – Holdine Kathrin Goebbels
Nazi propaganda Minister Paul Joseph Goebbels was one of Adolf Hitler’s closest friends. And he and his wife Magda were also two of the Nazi leader’s most dedicated admirers. In fact, it has even been suggested that the couple named their five daughters and one son in honor of Hitler – each child’s name beginning with the letter “H.” However, the six children didn’t survive to their teenage years. On May 1, 1945, as Nazi Germany was on the brink of defeat in the Second World War, they were all murdered by their parents, who committed suicide shortly afterwards.
19. Benito Mussolini – Edda Mussolini
As head of Italy’s National Fascist Party, Benito Mussolini ruled as a dictator for 20 years until he was overthrown in 1943. A close ally of Adolf Hitler, the man known as “Il Duce” had at least three sons and two daughters. Interestingly, though, the husband of his favorite child, Edda, was implicated in a plan to topple the dictator. And so the conspirator, Gian Galeazzo Ciano, was subsequently sentenced to death and – despite Edda’s pleas to her father – executed. Consequently, Edda renounced the family name, which, it is said, broke Mussolini’s heart.
18. Pol Pot – Sar Patchata
The sole child of communist dictator Pol Pot, Sar Patchata, now 28, spent much of her early years on the run with her father. As head of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime, Pol Pot was responsible for the deaths of more than two million people in the late 1970s. Still, following her father’s suicide, Patchata went on to graduate with a master’s degree in English Literature in Malaysia before marrying in 2014. She and her husband now carve out a living as rice farmers. Meanwhile, Patchata has stated that she prays for her father and hopes to be reunited with him despite his crimes. “I want to meet my father and spend time with him in the next life, if the next life exists,” she said.
17. Leopold II of Belgium – Princess Stéphanie of Belgium
Belgian King Leopold II exploited Congo without mercy during the late 19th century. Yes, the pillaging of the African country’s resources of rubber and ivory under forced labor resulted in the deaths of a staggering 50 percent of its population – around ten million people. Now while his beloved only son died at the age of ten, Leopold’s trio of ignored daughters all married into money or royalty. But scandal soon followed them, too. Princess Stéphanie was widowed when the bodies of her husband – the Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria – and his mistress were discovered in 1889 as a result of what seemed to be a murder-suicide pact.
16. Mao Zedong – Mao Anying
Renowned for heading up China’s ruling Communist party, Mao Zedong – or Chairman Mao – was a divisive force. The controversial leader’s 1957 campaign to enhance agricultural and industrial output failed, and a famine ensued, with millions perishing. However, his personal productivity flourished: Mao had ten children. The eldest, Mao Anying, was schooled in Moscow and served in the Second World War and Korean War. He was killed in the latter, aged 28, in a napalm attack by the U.S. Air Force.
15. Kim Jong-il – Kim Jong-un
North Korea’s Kim Jong-il ruled over the country for 17 years, overseeing a cruel regime infamous for kidnapping, torture and slave labor. Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of his greatest crimes was letting his nation starve. Indeed, up to three million North Koreans died after one of the world’s worst famines while Jong-il concentrated on growing his army. Following his death, the dictator’s enigmatic youngest son, Kim Jong-un, took the reins. Since then, North Korea has admitted testing missiles and nuclear weapons. The Eric Clapton-loving leader has also reportedly approved executions – even of family members. Moreover, Jong-un is currently linked to his wife’s possible disappearance; she’s not been seen in public for seven months.
14. Keith Jesperson – Melissa Moore
Melissa Moore is the daughter of the notorious “Happy Face” serial killer, Keith Jesperson – so-called because of the smiley faces he’d write upon teasing notes he sent to the police. At the age of 15, Moore learned that it was her father who was responsible for raping and killing eight women in numerous American states. Strikingly, the 37-year-old is now a reporter for television series Crime Watch Daily. In this vein, not wishing to be associated with her father’s heinous crimes, Moore instead chose a career path that would help the victims of crime be heard.
13. Saddam Hussein – Uday Hussein
Like father, like son. That’s a motto that can certainly be applied to Uday Hussein, the son of ex-Iraqi dictator, Saddam. His father’s brutal dictatorship was responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Meanwhile, Hussein junior had a passion for pricey suits, fast cars, drinking and partying – nevertheless matched by an equal interest in cruelty. As such, reportedly carrying out numerous rapes, murders and tortures, he was passed over as his father’s successor in favor of his brother, Qusay. Ultimately, Uday Hussein was killed, aged 39, following a three-hour shootout in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul.
12. Muammar Gaddafi – Mutassim Gaddafi
Former Libyan Prime Minister Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was a dictator who eventually paid compensation to the relatives of those killed in the so-called Lockerbie bombing. In 1988 a terrorist bomb exploded on Pan Am Flight 103, killing all 259 people on the flight. As a result, international relations with Libya collapsed, but Gaddafi’s son Mutassim worked to heal tensions. In fact, at the height of his powers he even met with Hillary Clinton. In addition, Gaddafi junior led a lavish lifestyle, dating models and reportedly hosting parties featuring stars such as Mariah Carey, Beyoncé and Usher. However, in 2011 he was captured by anti-Gaddafi forces and killed, at the age of 36, along with his father.
11. Francisco Franco – Carmen Franco
Dictator Francisco Franco was a repressive force over his nation of Spain. Up until his death in 1975, the right-wing leader’s violent regime was blamed for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his own people. He banned the use of Catalan and Basque languages and also outlawed every religion bar Catholicism. And upon his death, his only child, Carmen, was granted her own noble title and coat of arms. Marrying a surgeon who carried out Spain’s first heart transplant, she then bore seven children. And having previously described her father as “a warm person,” Carmen, now aged 90, is one of the few on this list who are still alive today.
10. Joseph Stalin – Yakov Dzhugashvili
Dictator Josef Stalin led the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until 1953. He revolutionized agriculture, but it led to five million famine-related deaths. Closer to home, Stalin fell out with son Yakov Dzhugashvili when he learnt that Dzhugashvili was planning to marry a Jew. Seemingly, the father’s rage also led Dzhugashvili to attempt suicide. However, he survived and served in the Red Army. When Dzhugashvili was then captured in the Second World War, the Germans offered to liberate him in a prisoner exchange, but Stalin refused. As a result, in 1943 his son perished at the age of 36 in a concentration camp.
9. Francois Duvalier “Papa Doc” – Jean-Claude “Bebe Doc”
Jean-Claude Duvalier, aka “Bebe Doc,” was a chip off the old block. His father Francois Duvalier, or “Papa Doc,” was President of Haiti, controlling the poverty-stricken island through voodoo and fear. He also killed political opponents. Son Jean-Claude was just as corrupt, making millions from drugs. He would regularly abandon Haiti for half the year, living the high life in Paris or Monte Carlo. Meanwhile, bodies of up to 40,000 victims were found in mass graves, and he even sold body parts for money. Toppled by a revolution in 1986, Bebe Dec fled to France, but he came back in 2011 when he was arrested. He died in 2014 from a heart attack.
8. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo – Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue
With a list of crimes to his name including prisoner torture, government-approved kidnapping and murder, Equatorial Guinea’s president Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is a feared dictator. His son is Teodoro Mangue, who has actually recently been promoted by dad. In his new role, then, Teodoro Mangue is ostensibly responsible for defense and security of the African country, but the 47-year-old has more lavish concerns. A collector of Michael Jackson memorabilia and sports cars, he dated the rapper Eve and is said to have paid $35 million in cash for a Malibu mansion. He also loves hanging at the Playboy Mansion. Natch.
7. Mikhail Popkov – Ekaterina Popkova
Despite her father raping and killing 22 women in Russia, Ekaterina Popkova, 28, still protests his innocence. Nicknamed “The Werewolf” because of his brutal attacks involving weapons, ex-police officer Mikhail Popkov is serving life inside. However, his daughter refuses to believe he’s responsible. She told Russian television’s Channel One, “I do not believe any of this. I always felt myself as ‘Daddy’s girl.’” A devoted Popkova even planned to study criminology to disprove the crimes, but she became a math teacher instead.
6. Slobodan Milosevic – Marko Milosevic
Former President of both Serbia and Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milošević was eventually charged with crimes including genocide and murder. Once ousted from office, though, he died in jail while awaiting trial for crimes against humanity. And while he eschewed politics, Milosevic’s son, Marko, enjoyed a life of crime, too. Fleeing for Russia, he ensured that his lust for extravagance and car racing was funded by smuggling and siphoning state monies. Then in 2000, a business rival was killed, and Milosevic junior was linked to the murder. He’s currently thought to be living in Russia with his wife and son.
5. Osama bin Laden – Omar Bin Laden
With his dark eyes, Omar Bin Laden looks strikingly similar to his father, Osama, once the world’s most wanted man. The now-neutralized Al-Qaeda leader was responsible for the September 11 terror attacks that killed more than 3,000 people in 2001. Thankfully, the two men’s similarities are only physical. Omar, 35, is the only Bin Laden son to have criticized his father’s callous crimes. Working as a contractor and scrap-metal dealer, he promotes peace and has written a book about growing up in the Bin Laden family.
4. Idi Amin – Faisal Wangita
Ugandan dictator Ida Amin’s brutal regime presided over civilian death squads, televised executions of his soldiers and hundreds of thousands of deaths. It’s claimed he even fed some people to crocodiles. Meanwhile, his son Faisal Wangita seemingly had a similar taste for blood. While living in London in 2006, Wangita was part of a mob who viciously beat and stabbed an 18-year-old to death. He also had many previous convictions – for theft, fraud and owning a offensive weapon. Imprisoned for five years, Wangita skulked back to Uganda following his deportation.
3. Fred West – Stephen West
Fred West’s perverted crimes ultimately led to his prison suicide in 1995. West and his wife were two of the United Kingdom’s most infamous serial killers, with the pair carrying out at least 12 sexually-motivated murders of young women in Gloucestershire. Meanwhile, their son, Stephen, 42, was jailed in 2004 for having sex with a 14-year-old girl, who then became pregnant. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that he was tainted by his parent’s sick actions, though; after all, West junior claims his dad even advised him to have sex with his own mother.
2. Nicolae Ceausescu – Zoia Ceausescu
Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu ruled Romania for almost three decades while his people lived in poverty, squalor and terror. But his siphoned wealth and that of his daughter, mathematician Zoia, was revealed during the 1989 revolution. Her extravagant apartment was broken into and found to contain fine wines and perfumes, gemstones, stolen old masters and, for her dogs, imported luxury meat. She was jailed for “undermining the Romanian economy” and was never able to work again. Having reportedly led a wild, drunken life with many lovers, she died aged 57 from lung cancer.
1. Adolf Hitler – Jean-Marie Loret
The supposed father of Jean-Marie Loret needs little introduction. Adolf Hitler – possibly the world’s most evil dictator – was officially childless, but Loret claimed he was the product of a First World War tryst between his mother, Charlotte Lobjoie, and the Fuhrer-to-be in France. Subsequently adopted, Loret then fought against the Nazis in the war. And, seemingly, when his mother told him his real father’s identity on her deathbed, it shocked him into near depression. Loret, who passed away at the age of 67 in 1985, spent much of his life trying to conclusively ascertain his father’s true identity.