Zinaida Portnova – An Authentic Member of a Real Resistance


Sometimes Twitter is a cesspool, and sometimes it has gems you just can’t pass up. Today I’m happy to have run across the story of 16 year old resistance fighter, Zinaida Portnova. Fenix Ammunition reported it best:

“This is Zinaida Portnova. In 1942, at the age of 16, Portnova joined the Belarusian resistance movement, becoming a member of the local underground Komsomol organization in Obol, Vitebsk Voblast, named Young Avengers.

She began by distributing Soviet propaganda leaflets in the German-occupied Belarus, collecting and hiding weapons for Soviet soldiers, and reporting on German troop movements.

After learning how to use weapons and explosives from the older members of the group, Portnova participated in sabotage actions at a pump, local power plant, and brick factory. These acts are estimated to have killed upwards of 100 German soldiers.

In 1943, Portnova became employed as a kitchen aide in Obol. In August, she poisoned the food meant for the Nazi garrison stationed there. Immediately falling suspect, she said she was innocent and ate some of the food in front of the Nazis to prove it was not poisoned.

After she did not fall ill immediately, they released her. Portnova became sick afterwards, vomiting heavily but eventually recovering from the poison after drinking much whey.

In December 1943 or January 1944, Portnova was sent back to Obol to infiltrate the garrison, discover the reason for the recent Young Avengers failures, then locate and contact the remaining members. She was quickly captured.

Reports of her escape vary. One is that, during Gestapo interrogation in the village of Goriany, she took the investigator’s pistol off the table, then shot and killed him. When two German soldiers entered after hearing the gunshots, she shot them as well.

Portnova ended up in Goryany, where she was relentlessly beaten and tortured. It is unclear if she gave them information about the youth resistance, or if there was even anything substantial to give, but by the time the teenager emerged from interrogation, she was blind.

They threw her battered body on the back of a truck, and drove her to the forest. Zinaida Portnova was shot dead on January 15, 1944, just a month shy of her 18th birthday.

THIS is what a freedom fighter looks like. Not some blue haired harpy screaming about pronouns.”Fenix Ammunition

Zinaida Portnova: The Teenage Partisan Who Became A Soviet Hero During World War II

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