Tatyana Yossifovna Markus was born in Ukraine
in 1921 and lived only for 22 years, but within that short span of
time, she became a formidable underground agent the Nazis feared.
In 1941, when the Germans entered the city of Kyiv, a
young Markus was there to greet them, congratulatory flowers in hand.
Instead of graciously handing them over to the triumphant soldiers, she
threw them, and the grenades hidden underneath them, at the approaching
contingent, killing four soldiers. Her father threw a second grenade, to
prevent them from retaliating.
In the tumultuous times of war, father and daughter had become
members of the Kyiv underground, resisting Nazi rule. But her father was
caught and killed shortly after the grenade incident.
Markus got further entrenched into the movement and took on the alias
of Tatyana or Tatiana Markusidze, the daughter of a Georgian prince who
had been killed by the Bolsheviks.
With this tragic (fake) backstory, she purported to hate the Soviet
Union and joined the Germans. A young beautiful operative, she won the
confidence of several German officials and gathered information that
helped the Ukrainian rebels kill them. She even worked in a German
officers’ mess and often lured soldiers into isolated areas and killed
With a number of Nazi soldiers dead, the Gestapo launched an
operation to identify and catch her. As she was escaping, in August
1942, she was caught and interrogated brutally for more than five
months, which intensified when her Jewish identity was discovered. But
despite the torture, she refused to provide them with any information
about her comrades. She was then killed in January 1943 and, according
to some accounts, her body was thrown into the notorious Babi Yar
ravine, where thousands were massacred by the Germans.
A few years later, in 1946, a Communist Party district report dealing
with the period of occupation included her and spoke about the “brave
Komsomol girl who knew no fear, Tanya Marcus, who was known as
Markusidze. An active member in the sabotage movement, she personally
killed dozens of soldiers, officers, and collaborators. She carried out
very responsible operations on behalf of the organization by preparing
sabotage operations, etc.”
After the fall of the Soviet Union, a statue of this courageous young
woman who gave her life in the fight against the Nazis was unveiled in
Babi Yar in 2009, just a few years after she was honored as a “Heroine
Let's hope this statue is still standing!