Lia Kantorovich was born in 1920. There is no precise data regarding her place of birth. We do know that, at the age of 17, she came to Izhevsk with her mother and stepfather from Vienna.
A year later, Lia finished high school in Izhevsk with honors, earning the right to be admitted to any institution of higher education in the country without having to pass entrance exams.
Thus, Lia chose to enroll simultaneously in two institutes: the Moscow Institute of Philosophy, Literature, and History (IFLI) and the Theater Institute. In the end, she settled on the Faculty of Literature of IFLI. Lia led an active life, editing the IFLI newspaper and organizing literary soirees.
Lia was able to complete three years of academic study before the outbreak of the Soviet-German War.
After taking an accelerated nursing course, she began to work at a military hospital. However, she desperately wished to be sent to the front, since her husband, Alexei Kara-Murza, had volunteered for frontline duty, and she had had no news of him. In the end, she managed to receive a frontline assignment, thanks to a wounded regimental commander who had been brought to her hospital for treatment.
From August 7, 1941, Kantorovich took part in combat in the area of Smolensk. During her brief frontline service (a mere 13 days), she evacuated more than 50 wounded persons from combat zones. When the company commander was wounded, Kantorovich dragged him to a medical-sanitary battalion, and then returned to the battlefield, leading the men. In that battle, she was gravely wounded. On August 20, 1941, Lia Kantorovich died of her wounds.
The museum of the school in Izhevsk that was attended by Lia Kantorovich holds a document indicating that she was nominated for an award, but the award ceremony never took place.
In 1968, a book about Lia Kantorovich was published in Izhevsk.
In 1972, the poet Alexander Galich (Ginzburg) dedicated his poem "Numbers" to Lia.
In 2015, the journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza (the son of Lia Kantorovich's husband) was able to restore the memorial plaque bearing Lia Kantorovich's name on the premises of Moscow State University, where Lia had transferred in June 1941, but never got to study.
From the recollections of Lia Kantorovich by the poet Alexander Galich
"I am certain that she never cried: "For the Motherland, for Stalin!" or "Death to the German invaders!" Of course not! She must have said something very simple, something like the words she would utter in those days long gone, when we came out of the dressing room onto our Patriarch Ponds, and Lia, banging her figure skate on the ice, would merrily shout at us: — Guys, follow me!"
Translated from New Times