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.[1][2][3][4] Infiltrated by NKVD, they were destroyed in 1945.[5]

History[edit]

During the Soviet counteroffensive of 1944, special units of local Nazi collaborationists were trained in Dahlwitz near Berlin,[6] by SS-Standartenführer Otto Skorzeny to infiltrate the Soviet rear.[3] 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".[1] 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,[7] were airdropped by the Luftwaffe in late 1944 behind the lines of the Red Army.[8] At that time, the German forces had already been expelled from the present-day Belarus during Operation Bagration.[9]

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.[10] 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.[5] Still, some armed anti-Soviet resistance continued in Belarus by mid-1950s.[6] 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.[11] Vituška was eventually hunted down according to British historian Perry Biddiscombe, captured and executed. He continued to live on in Belarusian nationalist ideology.[12]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dawid Wowra (January 22, 2014). "Belarusian Resistance, documentary by PartyzanFilm 2008 (transcript)". Based on Bialoruski ruch oporu by Siarhiej Jorsz (Scribd.com). Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Andrew Wilson (2011). Belarus: The Last European Dictatorship (Google Books preview). Yale University Press. ISBN 0300134355. , p. 109. Operation Black Cat.
  3. ^ a b Stephen Dorril (2002). MI6: Inside the Covert World. Belorussia (Simon and Schuster). p. 217. ISBN 0743217780. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Marek Jan Chodakiewicz (2012). "Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas". The Second Soviet Occupation. Transaction Publishers. p. 167. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Dudar (March 25, 1999). "Belarusian "Black Cats" of Otto Skorzeny". John Loftus "The Belarus Secret", edited by Nathan Miller, Alfred A. Knopf Inc., New York, 1982. ISBN 0-394-52292-3. Internet Archive. Archived from the original on October 25, 2009. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  6. ^ a b реж. Тележников А. (28 January 2011) [2008]. "Беларускі пасляваенны антысавецкі супраціў 1944−1957 гг". док. фильм по книге С. Ерша и С. Горбика «Беларускі супраціў». ПартызанFilm. 
  7. ^ Блинец Андрей (5 March 2003). "По следам "Чёрного Кота"" [In the footsteps of a "Black Cat"]. Сайт «Белорусской деловой газеты». Archived from the original on 2010-06-02. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  8. ^ Ёрш Сяргей (4 November 2007). "Камандзір беларускіх "лясных братоў" (фота друкуюцца ўпершыню)". Сайт газеты «Салiдарнасць» (www.gazetaby.com) (in Belarusian) – via Internet Archive. 
  9. ^ Матох Василий (17 April 2006). "Лесные братья // Информационно-аналитический еженедельник "БелГазета"" [Forest Brothers]. № 15 (534). Belgazeta.by – via Internet Archive. ; "фотоматериалами". Istpravda.ru. на сайте «Историческая правда». 4 December 2012. 
  10. ^ Alice Singer-Genis (2011). I Won't Die Hungry: A Holocaust Survivor's Memoir. Google eBook (AuthorHouse). p. 67. ISBN 1456736507. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  11. ^ S. Putnik (20 November 2007), Generał Wituszka – "Czarny Kot" białoruskiego podziemia (Polish), Portal Informacyjny Kresy24.pl. Re
  12. ^ Perry Biddiscombe: The SS Hunter Battalions. The Hidden History of the Nazi Resistance Movement. Tempus, Stroud 2006, p. 66.

External links[edit]