Remembered as the director of the Soviet Union's State and Joint State Political Directorates (secret police), this Russian revolutionary is infamous for organizing mass, execution-style killings during the years of the Russian Civil War and the Red Terror.
After attending the Wilno Gymnasium and briefly considering a career in the priesthood, he joined a Marxist organization called the Union of Workers.
An "Iron Felix" statue dedicated to him once sat in Moscow's Lubyanka Square.
The son of Edmund-Rufin Dzierzynski and Helena Ignatievna, he grew up in the Russian Vilna Governate. His marriage to Sofia Sigizmudovna Muszkat resulted in a child named Jan Feliksovich Dzerzhinsky.
In 1909, following his 1908 arrest, Dzerzhinsky was able to escape to Italy with the help of author and fellow revolutionary Maxim Gorky.