Portnova, Zina

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Portnova, Zina


(Zinaida Martynovna Portnova). Born Feb. 20, 1926, in Leningrad; died January 1944 in the village of Goriany, now in Shumilino Raion, Vitebsk Oblast. Young Soviet partisan heroine during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45. Hero of the Soviet Union (July 1, 1958, posthumously). Member of the Komsomol from 1943. Daughter of a worker.

Portnova arrived in early June 1941 at the village of Zuia, near Obol’ station, Vitebsk Oblast, for the summer vacation. In 1942 she became a member of the Obol’ underground Komsomol youth organization Iunye Mstiteli (Young Avengers), led by E. S. Zen’kova, and served as a member of the group’s committee. Portnova distributed leaflets among the population and took part in sabotage actions. From August 1943 she served as a scout for the K. E. Voroshilov Partisan Detachment of the V. I. Lenin Brigade. In December 1943, while returning from a mission to investigate the causes for the failure of the Iunye Mstiteli organization, she was arrested in the village of Mostishche and identified as a traitor. At one of the interrogation sessions, Portnova seized the investigator’s pistol from the table, shot him and two other Hitlerites, and tried to flee. She was caught and brutally tortured.


Nabatov, G. Iunost’, ognem opalennaia. Minsk, 1968.
Lobanok, V. E. “Do poslednei kapli krovi.” In Geroi podpol’ia, issue 1, 4th ed. Moscow, 1972. Pages 95–96.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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