Polina Kaganova was born in 1911 in the town of Nezhin (in present-day Chernihiv Oblast, Ukraine). On her mother's side, she was related to Nathan Rakhlin, a famous Soviet conductor, and to Ilya Rakhlin, the artistic director of the St. Petersburg State Music Hall.
In the early 1920s, after the Russian Revolution, there was a large-scale migration of Jewish youths from the small towns to the cities. The Kaganov family was no exception to this trend, and they moved to Petrograd (present-day St. Petersburg).
In the early 1930s, Polina Kaganova worked as a seller of books and phonograph records in downtown Leningrad. In 1933, she moved to Kharkiv, Ukraine, with her husband.
In 1937, Polina's husband, Sergey Volokitin, was arrested on fabricated charges, and shot shortly thereafter. In the aftermath of his death, Polina returned to Leningrad.
Following the outbreak of the Soviet-German War on June 22, 1941, Polina Kaganova refused to evacuate from the besieged Leningrad, despite having the opportunity to do so. Early on, she appeared on the radio alongside the famous Soviet poet Olga Bergholz. Shortly thereafter, she volunteered for frontline duty, and began to serve in the artillery of the Leningrad Front. Having an aptitude for poetry, Polina began to write poems for the local military newspaper. Her poems were popular among the troops.
Polina's second husband, Lev Savransky, was born in 1906 in the town of Lozovaya in Kharkiv Oblast. He worked as a documentary cameraman at the Lenfilm movie studio. Following the outbreak of the Soviet-German War, he became a frontline fighter. Throughout the war, Lev Savransky flew on reconnaissance missions, photographing the enemy positions, and he commanded a photo reconnaissance platoon. After the end of the war, he was awarded the Orders of the Red Star and of the Patriotic War, 2nd class, as well as medals.
After the end of the war, Lev and Polina returned to Leningrad.
In the late 1940s, Lev Savransky worked as a cameraman at the Ivan Pavlov Institute of Physiology in Koltushi, near Leningrad. Afterward, he worked for fifteen years in the same capacity at the Lennauchfilm studio. Lev Savransky died in 1969.
In the postwar years, Polina Kaganova wrote children's poems, as well as war-themed and lyrical poetry. Her work was eagerly and extensively published, and it won the approval of the celebrated poet Anna Akhmatova and the writer Mikhail Zoshchenko.
For a long time, Kaganova kept receiving letters from former soldiers and officers who admired her poetry.
In 1972, unable to cope with the deaths of her husband and eldest son, Polina Kaganova committed suicide.
Kaganova's sole poetry collection, Reserve Soldier, was published three years after her death.