Zoya Anatolyevna Kosmodemyanskaya, alternatively Romanised as Kosmodem'yanskaya (Russian: Зо́я Анато́льевна Космодемья́нская) (September 13, 1923 – November 29, 1941) was a Soviet partisan,and an Hero of the Soviet Union (awarded posthumously). She is one of the most revered martyrs of the Soviet Union.
Kosmodemyanskaya joined the Komsomol in 1938. In October 1941, still a high school student in Moscow, she volunteered for a partisan unit. To her mother, who tried to talk her from doing this, she answered "What can I do when the enemy is so close? If they came here I would not be able to continue living." Zoya was assigned to the partisan unit 9903 (Staff of the Western Front). Of the one thousand people who joined the unit in October 1941 only half survived the war. At the village of Obukhovo near Naro-Fominsk, Kosmodemyanskaya and other partisans crossed the front line and entered territory occupied by the Germans. They mined roads and cut communication lines. On November 27, 1941 Zoya received an assignment to burn the village of Petrischevo, where a German cavalry regiment was stationed.
In Petrischevo Zoya managed to set fire to horsestables and a couple of houses. However, one Russian collaborationist had noticed her and informed his masters. The Germans caught Zoya as she started to torch another house. She was tortured and interrogated throughout the night but refused to give up any information. The following morning she was marched to the center of the town with a board around her neck bearing the inscription 'Houseburner' and hanged.
Her final words were purported to be "Comrades! Why are you so gloomy? I am not afraid to die! I am happy to die for my people!" and to the Germans, "You'll hang me now, but I am not alone. There are two hundred million of us. You can't hang us all."
The Germans left Zoya's body hanging on the gallows for several weeks. Eventually she was buried just before the Soviet liberation in January 1942.