Belarusian Black Cats
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The Belarusian Black Cat partisans (Belarusian: Чорны кот, Čorny Kot) was a German-trained Belarusian nationalist and anti-Soviet guerrilla unit during World War II. It was a part of the German clandestine operation known as Liebes Kätzchen stretching from the Baltics to the Black Sea. The Belarusian Black Cat guerrilla group led by Michas' Vitushka was parachuted behind Soviet lines in late 1944. They operated in Belavezha Forest (Białowieża) throughout 1945 but with limited success. Infiltrated by NKVD, they were destroyed in 1945.
During the Soviet counteroffensive of 1944, special units of local Nazi collaborationists were trained in Dahlwitz near Berlin, by SS-Standartenführer Otto Skorzeny to infiltrate the Soviet rear. The paratroopers came from Reichskommissariat Ostland; and were split into commandos based on the country of origin. Latvian were called "Forest Cats", Ukrainians, "Steppe Cats", and the Belarusians, "Black Cats". As part of the Nazi effort to combat the growing Soviet partisan movement in Belarus during the war, some thirty Belarusians from the espionage and sabotage outfit known as "Čorny Kot" (Black Cat) led by Michał Vituška age 37, were airdropped by the Luftwaffe in late 1944 behind the lines of the Red Army. At that time, the German forces had already been expelled from the present-day Belarus during Operation Bagration.
Black Cats experienced some initial successes due to disorganization in the rear of the Red Army. In the city of Minsk they engaged in gun robberies causing death. Other German-trained Belarusian nationalist units also slipped through the Białowieża Forest in 1945. However, the NKVD secret police informants infiltrated these units. As the result, they were ambushed and killed in short order. Still, some armed anti-Soviet resistance continued in Belarus by mid-1950s. Vituška himself managed to escape to the West along with several other Belarusian Central Rada leaders, and the subsequent reports of his death differ greatly. According to some reports, he was killed in action on 7 January 1945 airdropped back behind the Soviet front. Other reports claim he was still alive in 1946. Vituška was eventually hunted down according to British historian Perry Biddiscombe, captured and executed. He continued to live on in Belarusian nationalist ideology.
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