Elizabeth Zarubina: who recruited the most successful Soviet intelligence officer

Biography 21/01/20 Elizabeth Zarubina: who recruited the most successful Soviet intelligence officer

Elizabeth Zarubina rightly considered a true master of recruitment. She was recruited by the Gestapo officer Willie Leman, which became the prototype of the Otto von Stirlitz — one of the heroes of the novel Juliana Semenova “Seventeen moments of spring”. Zarubina was one of the few spies that have lived to old age. However, die a natural death, it still failed.


Her real name is Elizabeth Rosenzweig. Elizabeth’s father was managing forestry in a wealthy estate located in the territory of Bessarabia. Due to this fact couple of Rosenzweig in no way needed, and their daughter received an excellent education and spoke several foreign languages. Besides, my father instilled in Elizabeth the love of Russian literature and culture in General. So when cousin Elizabeth was on fire with revolutionary ideas, she, without thinking, followed her example.

at First she joined the Austrian Communist party, but after getting the position of the interpreter at the trade representation of the Soviet Union in Vienna, over to the KGB and was even “awarded” Soviet citizenship. In 1928, Elizabeth registered a relationship with a Russian intelligence officer Vasily Zarubin. So she got the name under which it is known and still remembered.

Jewish appearance among the Nazis

Zarubina worked together in Denmark, in France, in Turkey and in Nazi Germany. The latter fact is amazing because Elizabeth with her obviously Jewish appearance were able to do the most incredible complexity of the task. She could impersonate anyone. So, in order to recruit the Gestapo Willy Lehmann, Zarubina specially learned the Italian language, thanks to which managed to skillfully transform into Italian. A few years Leman supplied the Soviet razvedku important information.

all in All, Elizabeth Zarubina recruited more than 20 people, among whom were not only men but also women. Robert Oppenheimer, “father of the American atomic bomb”, Zarubina came through his wife. By the way, for information about working on nuclear weapons, “Russian Mata Hari” was awarded the red star.

Life after exploration and ridiculous death

a year after the victory over Nazi Germany Elizabeth Zarubina was discharged. The same fate befell her husband 2 years later. Until the end of his days Vasily Zarubin was engaged in training younger personnel and writing of literature for future scouts. And Elizabeth Yulevna was able to get the interior Ministry, but after his disgrace Beria, a brilliant recruiter dismissed from bodies.

Zarubina outlived his wife by 13 years. She died in 1987 at the age of 87 years. That’s just old scout died in his bed. Her death was ridiculous and weird: the may day Elizabeth Zarubina knocked down on the road regular bus service.

Yulia Popova

© Russian Seven

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