Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya
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Zoya was born on September 8, 1923.
Her father studied in a theological
seminary, but did not graduate. He later
worked as a librarian. Her mother
was
a school teacher. From the 17th
century, the Kosmodemyansky were
priests in the Russian Orthodox
Church. In 1929, the family moved to
Siberia for fear of persecution. In 1930
they moved to Moscow.
Z
oya joined the Komsomol in 1938. In
October 1941, still a high school
student in Moscow, she volunteered
for a partisan unit. On November 27,
1941 Zoya received an assignment to
burn the village of Petrischevo, where
a German cavalry regiment was
stationed. Zoya managed to set fire to
horse stables and a couple of houses.
However, one Russian villager had
noticed her and informed the Germans.
They caught Zoya as she started to
torch another house. I
t was a long
night of torment
; the sounds of a
scuffle and then after a minute there
was a low moan from the girl followed
by the creaking of the bed and the
breathing sounds.
Zoya was sentenced to execution by
her captors the following morning.
Her heavy coat and additional outer garments
had been confiscated by her captors and she
was taken outside wearing only her blouse,
trousers and stockings. She was marched
through deep snow in freezing temperatures to
the village square where a newly constructed
gallows awaited. At 10:30 the next morning
Z
oya was brought to the gallows; she had the
plate on a breast with an inscription "The
instigator of houses". Zoya was hanged before
the villagers that had been forced to witness the
spectacle.The hangman impatiently tightened
the noose, but she eased it by standing on her
tiptoes and, straining with all her might,
shouted: “Goodbye comrades!” The hangman
kicked the box from under her and
her body
shuddered several times and then hung still.

The Germans left Zoya's body h
anging on the
gallows for several weeks. Her corpse was
bayoneted by the Nazis as it hung from the
billet. The Germans would not allow the
villagers to remove her body for some time
after the execution. Instead, they displayed her
body as a warning to others who might have
considered aiding the partisans. Eventually she
was buried just before the Soviets regained that
territory in January 1942.
Zoya's autopsy
revealed some bruises on her body from the
interrogation and her hymen was broken.

Ten kilometres away Zoya’s friend
Vera
Voloshina was also publicly hanged, later in the
same d
ay.