Alexandra Emelyanovna Dubrovina is a Soviet anti-fascist underground activist. During the Great Patriotic War, a member of the underground Komsomol organization “Young Guard”, a teacher of most members of the May Day group, herself went to prison to share the fate of her students. She was buried with them in a mass grave on Krasnodon Square. She studied at the Faculty of Biology of the Russian State University.
In 2023, in memory of Alexandra Dubrovina’s feat, a silver maple was planted and a plaque was installed on the Alley of Memory of the Heroes of the Great Patriotic War in the Botanical Garden of the Southern Federal University.
Alexandra Dubrovina was born on November 17, 1919 in the city of Novocherkassk, Rostov Region, into a working-class large family. She was the fifth child in the family of saddler worker Emelyan Evseevich and housewife Anna Egorovna Dubrovin. On the maternal side, he comes from the Cossack class of the Don region. In 1920, shortly after the capture of Novocherkassk by units of the Red Army, the Dubrovin family left the city devastated by the Civil War and moved to the neighboring Donetsk province.
Until 1926, the Dubrovins lived in Anna Egorovna’s native village of Gerasimovka near the village of Krasnodon, then moved to the village of Pervomaika. Here, in 1927, Alexandra Dubrovina went to the first grade of the Pervomaisk junior high school. Alexandra studied diligently, humanitarian subjects were especially easy for her, and in high school her favorite classes were chemistry and biology lessons.
In her free time from studying, the girl enjoyed reading books and drew well. She was more friends with the boys, went fishing with them, and went ice skating in the winter. The large family lived in constant need, but life’s adversities only strengthened the girl’s character. Even while studying at school, she already knew for sure that she would become a teacher, and persistently pursued her goal. After graduating from the seven-year school, she transferred to school No. 1 named after Maxim Gorky in the village of Sorokino, where she completed ten years of education.
Study at Rostov State University
Gradebook of Alexandra Dubrovina Gradebook of Alexandra Dubrovina
Alexandra Dubrovina studied at the Faculty of Biology of the Russian State University. Here she joined the Komsomol in 1938. She successfully combined her studies at the university with active Komsomol and social work, managed to play sports, and also work part-time in the evenings and weekends to support herself and help her mother. However, financial troubles nevertheless forced her to transfer to Kharkov State University in 1940, where she graduated from the 4th year of the Faculty of Chemistry and Biology, where in June 1941 she successfully passed the exams.
Yesterday’s students were preparing for the graduation party, which was to be followed by distribution, but on June 22, 1941, the war began. Soon, the Dzerzhinsky district committee of the Komsomol of Ukraine, along with other Komsomol members of the university, was mobilized to the labor front. They were sent to the village of Staritsa to harvest grain and make hay.
Dubrovina’s classmate at Kharkov University G.I. Lyshchenko later recalled:
“I remember Shura well. She was very hardworking. We were very tired at work, our mood was depressed and we didn’t always have the desire to bring water or firewood… And Shura, without arguing with us about whose turn it was to do this or that, silently stood up and said: “I’ll go. I will do».
After completing field work and returning to Kharkov, the students were sent home.
Self-portrait of Alexandra Dubrovina Self-portrait of Alexandra Dubrovina
Return home and the battle for the Motherland
In August 1941, Alexandra returned to her parents in Pervomaika and soon got a job teaching chemistry and biology for grades 7-10 at secondary school No. 6. The young teacher was also appointed class teacher of the 10th grade, where the future leaders of the Pervomaisk cell of the underground Komsomol organization “Young Guard” Anatoly studied Popov, Ulyana Gromova and others. While working at school, Alexandra became close to one of her students, Maya Peglivanova , with whom they became best friends despite the five-year age difference.
Talking about the touching friendship of the girls, Maya’s aunt A.V. Ogorodnyaya recalled:
“The image of Shura Dubrovina appears in front of me. A thin girl with a simple haircut. She always dressed modestly, most often wearing a dark blue woolen skirt and a white blouse. Shura Dubrovina was always strict with herself, persistent in achieving her goals and had a great will. This young teacher in her first year of work gained great authority among her students. Maya Peglivanova, a Komsomol organizer at Pervomaiskaya School No. 6, became friends with a young Komsomol teacher, Shura Dubrovina. They were brought together not only by common social interests, but also by their passion for chemistry. Maya Peglivanova loved chemistry very much and devoted all her free time to it. Shura Dubrovina noticed a capable student and always tried to help her. Shura often came to Maya’s house, and I saw them together, bowing their heads over solving chemical problems. Thus began their friendship, which grew into a passionate affection and it was not without reason that Shura Dubrovina followed Maya Peglivanova “like a thread following a needle.”
Alexandra and Maya’s friendship continued after graduating from high school. It was on the recommendation of Peglivanova that Alexandra Dubrovina became a member of the Young Guard in October 1942. Dubrovina’s role in the underground organization was very large. As a senior comrade, she enjoyed great authority and had a strong influence on her former students. Cool and reasonable, she knew how to restrain the ardor of young men and women and keep them from making hasty and rash decisions.
“In the fascist rear, she carried out a lot of political and educational work among her students…” — this description of Dubrovina’s activities was subsequently given by the bureau of the district committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks of the city of Krasnodon. On behalf of the organization’s headquarters, Alexandra wrote and distributed anti-fascist leaflets and Sovinformburo reports, conducted propaganda among the residents of Krasnodon, collected medicines and bandages for prisoners of war, and took part in organizing their escapes.
On January 11, 1943, Alexandra and her friend Maya were arrested. At the commandant’s office, however, it turned out that the “needed” Dubrovina had already been arrested and Alexandra was released. Her niece, also named Sasha, was arrested. The police soon realized that they had arrested the wrong Dubrovina and began looking for the teacher. Maya’s mother and her aunt advised the girl to hide, but Alexandra made a different decision. “Where Maya and my comrades are, I will be there,” she replied. Having collected her things, Alexandra Dubrovina voluntarily came to the police. During interrogations, she chose the tactic of silence. She was severely beaten, but returning to her cell, she found the strength to support her students.
On January 16, 1943, after terrible torture, she was shot and thrown into the pit of mine No. 5. She was buried in the mass grave of heroes in the central square of the city of Krasnodon.
«Are you with us! You live, Sasha!
From an article by T. Zhidkoblinova about Alexandra Dubrovina.
“For Soviet Science”, 1960, May 5 (Student newspaper of Rostov State University).
“In October 1942, the excited but firm voice of a young teacher clearly pronounced the words of the Young Guards’ oath:
— I, Alexandra Dubrovina, solemnly swear…
And the struggle for their desecrated land began. In the twilight of the basement, the voice of distant Moscow was recorded on the radio, and then leaflets appeared on the streets with messages about the real state of affairs at the front. The Young Guards obtained ammunition, medicine, and weapons. Sasha, together with Maya, participated in all operations of the Young Guard.
“…In the fascist rear, she carried out a lot of political and educational work among her students…” — this is how the bureau of the district party committee of the city of Krasnodon subsequently characterized the activities of Alexandra Dubrovina. In the meantime, a student of the Lenin Komsomol, a senior comrade and teacher, edited leaflets with Anatoly Popov or Ulyana Gromova at night, thinking about the weight that fell on these very childish shoulders. And she believed: her students would endure everything!
We always remember our university student Alexandra Emelyanovna Dubrovina, a glorious member of the “Young Guard,” a fair-haired girl who was posthumously awarded the Order of the Patriotic War, 1st degree, and the medal “Partisan of the Patriotic War.”
Are you with us! You live, Sasha!
Alexandra Dubrovina was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War, 1st degree, and the medal “Partisan of the Patriotic War, 1st degree” posthumously.
We are proud and remember our heroes!