|Born||27 September 1903
Babruysk, Russian empire
Vera Kharuzhaya (Belarusian: Вера Харужая, Polish: Wiera Charuża, September 27, 1903 - November 1942) was a Belarusian Communist writer, school teacher and activist from the Soviet Union deployed to Poland for sabotage and espionage operation during the interbellum. She was executed as a partisan by the Germans after the anti-Soviet Operation Barbarossa.
Vera Kharuzhaya was born into the family of an administrative worker in Babruysk, Russian Empire, before the Revolution of 1905. In 1919 she graduated from a workers school in Mazyr. The town was handed over to the Bolsheviks in the Riga Peace Treaty and became part of the Belarussian SSR. Kharuzhaya found employment in the public schools teaching, and served as Political commissar of local Komsomol branches in the areas of Mazyr and Babruysk (now eastern Belarus). In 1922-1923 she worked in the administration of the Central Committee of the Komsomol of Belarus, also working in several Belarusian Soviet newspapers.
Deployment to Poland
Since 1920 Kharuzhaya actively participated in the subversive anti-Polish campaign led by the Comintern. After graduating from the senior communist party school in the Soviet Union, in February 1924 she was secretly deployed across the border to the Second Polish Republic. While in eastern Poland (present-day West Belarus), she was appointed member of the Central Committee of the Komsomol of West Belarus and printed illegal Belarusian communist papers.
In September 1925 Kharuzhaya was arrested by the Poles, convicted of subversive activity and sentenced to 8 years of prison. In 1932 she was handed over to the USSR in exchange for a Polish political prisoner held in a Soviet prison. During the Great Purge in 1935 Kharuzhaya was excluded from the Communist party, following her husband reporting her to the authorities. In 1937 she was arrested by the NKVD and spent two years in prison. In August 1939 Kharuzhaya was released ahead of the Soviet invasion of Poland.
After the German attack on the USSR under the codename Operation Barbarossa Kharuzhaya joined a Soviet partisan unit. In November 1942 she was arrested and eventually executed by the Germans.
In 1960 Kharuzhaya was posthumously granted the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. On that occasion one of the streets in the centre of Minsk has been renamed by the Soviets in honour of Kharuzhaya.
- Хоружая (Khoruzhaya) at dic.academic.ru (Russian)
- Вера Захаровна Хоружая at molodguard.ru
- Вера Захаровна Хоружая at vulica.by
- Новиков Г.И. Вера Хоружая. 2 изд. Мн., 1973; • Булацкий Г.В., Талапина С.В. Вера Хоружая — революционер, публицист. Мн., 1973; • Жизнь, отданная борьбе. Мн., 1975.; • Селеменев В., Селицкая Л. Ордер № 37. Как Вера Хоружая не стала «польской шпионкой» // Народная газета. 2001. 9 лют.