Zoya Anatolyevna Kosmodemyanskaya , born 1923 and executed in 1942, was a Russian partisan and resistance fighter that became an icon of resistance against the fascist invaders in the Second World War.

Zoya joined the Komsomol, the youth organization of the Soviet Union at a young age. In 1941, she voluntarily entered the partisan unit when the German-Soviet war broke out. She received the task to sabotage German quarters, which she at first succeeded in without serious problems. But when she tried to set a barn on fire, she was caught, betrayed by a comrade who hoped to escape execution by the Germans.

Zoya was interrogated by the Germans for days. She was tortured and raped. And yet she didn’t reveal anything but her pseudonym Tanja. On 29 November, she was hanged on a village square.

Surrounded by a shocked audience that clearly showed despair in their eyes, Zoya encouraged her Russian comrades to be brave and to keep on fighting in her last minutes before her death. Her remains were left there hanging and a sign was hung around her neck stigmatizing her as an arsonist.

When the village was reconquered by the Red Army, her words were spread by the survivors. Consequently, she was declared a hero of the Soviet Union posthumously.