Belarusian Nazi during the World War II and their work for the Cold War
2. Short history of pre-war
belarusian national liberation.
- Belarusian Democratic Republic, 1918.
- The Treaty of Riga signed in 1921. "Hramada" movement.
- The White Ruthenian Nazi Party, Berlin, 1937.
3. Belarus during World War II
- Belarusian "Self-Help", 1940.
- Barysau massacre, October 20, 1941.
- Belarusian Autocephalous,Orthodox Church.
- Onset of Belarusian anti-Nazi partisan movement.
4. Creation of Belarusian collaborationist government.
- Radaslau Astrouski and the Belarusian Central Council.
- The Second All-Belarusian Congress, 1943.
- Belarusian Armed Forces. Belarus SS Brigade.
- Belarusian "Black Cats" of Otto Skorzeny.
5. Post WWII. Belarusian Nazi in DP camps.
- General Patton and Belarusian SS.
- Yalta Conference and Operation Keelhaul.
- Involvement of France: "Prometheus", Polish Military Mission.
- Vatican trains Belarusians paratrooping.
- Gehlen: Third Reich - U.S.A. - F.R.G. Always floating.
6. US usage of Belarusian Nazi during the Cold War.
- "Fighting Russians with Russians".
- Frank Wisner and the Office of Policy Coordination.
- Belarusian nazi base in historic Williamsburg, Virginia.
- Truman's ban on admitting ex-Nazis to US.
7. Belarusian Nazi Leaders.
- Father Mikalaj Lapicki.
- Emmanuel Jasiuk.
- Dzmitry Kasmovich.
- Stephan Bandera and Ukrainian torture squad.
- Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe.
- Astrouski and Abramtchyk factions.
- Yury Sabaleuski.
8. The rise and fall of Belarusian Nazi in U.S.
- Wisner's fiasco.
- "American concepts of "fair play" must be reconsidered".
- 1956 - Polish and Hungarian Uprisings.
- Scandal with smugling Belarusian Nazis to US is published.
During the first half of the XX century Belarus has found itself squeezed between two most horrible rising superpowers that had yet to shock the mankind with an animal cruelty of their ideologically brainwashed soldiers - Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's III Reich. Belarusian nationalists were trying to walk a thin line between Polish prosecutors of Pilsudski, Stalin's NKVD and Hitler's SS towards the national sovereignty. It was a tragic loose-loose situation. Those who have allied themselves with Stalin participated in the executions of hundreds of thousands of belarusians and poles in Katyn', Kurapaty and other places. Belarusian Nazi Collaborationists has done bloody executions of thousands of belarusian jews and ethnical belarusians. The tragedy of belarusian nationalist movement is that many of these belarusians have entered the political struggle with pure ideals of the renaissance of the proud ancient belarusian culture. But the political machine has its own rules and logics. It has produced horrible war criminals who have conducted mass murders of their own population, betrayed their culture and ended drowning their ideals in the blood of their victims.
The history of Belarus is very complicated. Many political interests have collided in it. Most of the facts about belarusian history are distorted by different political, ethnic and group interests. And so, the most accurate description and evaluation of events could only emerge from enlisting different points of view on the subject. Many facts and events of the belarusian history are thoroughly hidden. And yet the ghosts of the past constantly appear in the present and haunt people. It is my belief that only providing a multi-facet information about belarusian past can clean up these hidden ulcers of the belarusian history. Only with a good knowledge of the facts about our past can we make an objective judgement about our future.
Below we have extracted some facts from the book by John Loftus "The Belarus Secret" about the crimes of belarusian WWII nazi collaborationists and their further service for american and british intelligence. You can view Mr. Loftus as a prosecutor for those tens of thousands of the belarusian jews who have been massacred during WWII near Barysau, Klecak and other belarusian towns. We shall intentionally strip the story of emotions and restrict myself to the listing of the bare facts. We shall let the reader to make the final judgement.
2. Short history of pre-war belarusian national liberation.
December 17, 1917. An independence of Belarus is proclaimed by a group of nationalistic politicians, intellectuals, workers of different ethnical backgrounds. After attempt of bolsheviks to take control belarusian nationalists appealed for help to German army who had occupied western Belarus (WWI). The Germans took over Minsk and the Byelorussian Democratic Republic (BDR) was proclaimed on March 25, 1918. A young school teacher Radaslau Astrouski was named a Minister of Education in the democratic Belarusian government. After Germany withdrew at the end of the WWI the BDR collapsed under the onslaught of the Bolsheviks. Some members of the government fled to Vilna and then to the West forming belarusian government in exile. Others, Astrouski among them, joined White Army that with Anglo-American-French support was trying to overthrow the Bolshevik regime.
The Treaty of Riga signed in 1921 divided Belarus between Poland and Bolsheviks. Only a few of the ethnic belarusians were permitted seats in Polish Senate (Sejm). Among them was Jury Sabaleuski. Both Sabaleuski and Astrouski became the members of the left-wing organization, the Byelorussian Peasants and Workers Party (known as Hramada). Hoping to discredit its socialist rivals in the Hramada, soviet secret police (OGPU) informed the Polish Secret Service that it was controlled from Moscow. Poles have seized this opportunity and on January 14, 1927 more than 3,000 belarusian activists were arrested. Astrouski and 18 other defendants were acquitted following a mass trial but the rest were sentenced to several years in prison as communist agents. The outcry from Poles and Belarusians was so great that the embarassed government granted eventually limited amnesty.
In 1930 most of the Belarusian leaders formally voted to terminate the BDR as a government-in-exile and move to the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. Soon after their return, however, the Hramada leaders were again arrested, this time by the Communists, and were executed as Polish spies.
Persecuted by Poles and betrayed by Communists belarusian nationalists turned towards Nazi Germany. In 1937 - the blodiest year of Stalinist repressions - the White Ruthenian Nazist Party was founded with subsidies from Berlin. The new emigres to the Third Reich were the cream of Belarusian intelligentsia mostly professionals who had been prosecuted in Poland and the USSR. The Belarusian-language newspaper "Ranitsa" was published in Berlin denouncing "Jewish-Bolshevik world conspiracy". The Nazis funded a network of Belarusian "self-help" or welfare offices whose purpose was ostensibly charitable. In reality they were covert recruitment agencies.
3. Belarus during World War II
The SS (Schutzstaffel - "defense echelon" - elite Nazi organization) established a special test for its Belarusian collaborators: only those who assisted the Einsatzgruppen (task forces) would be permitted to become part of the civilian administration. to be established in the wake of the advancing troops. Later most of the executions in Belarus has been conducted by these Einsatzgruppen.
Sometime in spring of 1940, Dr. Franz Six, a former professor of political science and head of the Vorkommando (SS forward unit) for Einsatzgruppe B, made contact with the local branch of the Belarusian "self-help" organization in Warsaw and put together a task force of some thirty to forty trusted belarusians to serve as guides, administrators and informers. Among them were Stanislau Stankevich, who later ran the city of Barysau; Emmanuel Jasiuk, who was assigned to the city of Klecak; and Jury Sabaleuski, who administered Baranavichy. Radaslau Astrouski was to organize the counties around Minsk and then follow the invasion forces to Russia. In a moment of optimism, the SS had designated Dr. Six's unit "Vorkommando Moskau".
Operation Barbarossa began at first light on Sunday, June 22, 1941. German troops moved across the Soviet frontier from Baltic to Ukraine. Red Army was completely taken by surprize and its entire units were captured as prisoners of war (POW). Dr. Six nominated two of his Belarusian collaborators to organize each city and town under military occupation. In Minsk, Astrouski formed a municipal government subservient to Nazis, while Franz Kushel put together police forces. The SS equipped polizei with black uniforms and red armbands labeled "Polizei". Germans ordered an entire male population of Minsk to assemble on a field south of the city known as Drazdy. These people were squizeed without any drink or food for days behind barbed wire and the collaborators were moving through the mob recruiting for Nazi, eventually totalling 20,000 men The field was divided into two parts - civilian and soviet solders. Civilians were allowed to receive food from belarusian women. Soviet solders (POW) were not. In July civilians were allowed to return to the city. The Soviet POW were machine gunned.
Depicted above is the Leadership of the Belarusian Self-Help Committee, 1942. Seated at far left: Ivan Kosiak, later a provincial governor; seated forth from left: Dr. Ivan Ermachenko; at far right: Vadlau Ivanouski, later mayor of Minsk; standing second from right: Anton Adamovich.
A Ghetto was set up in each belarusian town for Jewish population. Jewish collaborators - Judenrat - were running it inside receiving the orders from Nazi. To prevent posiibility of rebellion the educated leadership was marked for elimination first. The story of murder of Jews repeated from one ghetto to another. First a series of taxes was imposed to extract all the valuables from Jews in ghetto. Then when Judenrat were not able to extract anymore valuables a mass executions were made.
Barysau was under control of Stanislau Stankevich. He ruled Barysau, a town of some 15,000, more than half of them Jews, through Belarusian police force garbed in black SS-type uniforms with the white-red-white of Belarus on their armbands.
Following the usual extortion of valuables Stankevich has
ordered a murder of 7,000 Jewish men, women and children which has been executed on
October 20, 1941. Stankevich himself did not have the stomach to witness the consequences
of his orders. He took a ride out into the country, far away from Barysau. The
roundup of Jews began at 3 A.M. The local police, bolstered by reinforcements from the
neighboring town of Zemblin, surrounded ghetto. Entire families were rounded out at
gunpoint and forced into cars and trucks that took them out the Poletzala Ulitsa road
leading to airport, where mass graves had already been dug by Soviet POWs. Here is what
Wehrmacht sergeant named Soennecken has filed later in his report:
"The fisrt contingent, about 20 men, were made to jump into the pits after taking off all but their underwear. They were then shot from above. Of course these dead and half-dead people were lying pell-mell. The next victims had to line them up so as to gain as much space as possible. Then it continued as above. When the bottom row of the mass grave was full, the Jews had to put a layer of sand over the bodies. The most horrible scenes are said to have taken place in these mass graves... The Russian policemen were given a great deal of liquor..."
The SS professed to be shocked by the Barysau massacre - not at the slaughter of the Jews but at the carnival aspects of it. Over the next three years , as the Belarusian holocaust increased in intensity and dimension, the german Einsatzgruppen supervised the actual shooting themselves. Then, at least, the moment of execution would be devoid of the demonic games favored by the collaborationists. But even after the sport of pulling the trigger at the pits had been taken from them, hundreds of collaborators guarded the roads, chased fugitives, and forced the living down into the graves.
Franz Kushel's Belarusian police conducted a roundup of Jews in the Minsk ghetto (42,000 people). Emanuel Jasiuk, wartime mayor of Klecak, supervised the killing of more than 5,000 Jews in one day. Units were broght from Baltic states and Ukraine when insufficient belarusian polizei were available. 375,000 Jews who lived in Belarus before the Nazi invasion were swallowed up by the Holocoust. Overall, 2 million of belarusian population perished during the World War II which mounts one forth of Belarus population.
One of the most powerful weapons in the collaborationist arsenal was the religion. The SS established an independent from Moscow patriarch, or Autocephalous, Belarusian Orthodox Church. These priests had considerable influence with the peasantry, and they actively supported the Nazi cause. In every church the Eisatzgruppen were depicted as waging a holy war againts atheisthic-Judeo communism.
While belarusian peasantry initially often supported the Nazi, the brutality and arrogance of the liberators had soon turned most of the belarusian population against them An unprecedent guerilla ("partizan") war has been started coordinated by Moscow. Soviet agents were infiltrating every institution of collaborators. A massive sabotage acts, diversions were taking place. The railroads, bridges, ammunition warehouses were blown up disrupting supplies to German frontline. Many frontline german units have been diverted to conduct sweeping and punishment operations in Belarus. The brutal punishment operations were conducted by SS after guerilla partizans operations. In 658 belarusian villages the population of the village was burned alive to punish their cooperation with partizans. Often this was used by partizans for their purpose. "We would choose the quietest settlement, with a population loyal to the occupants,"- one Soviet saboteur later recalled. "Then we would kill a German soldier, or we would mine the railroads in the vicinity: the Germans would retaliate upon the whole vcillage and the peasantry would learn a cruel lesson." Again simple belarusians were in loose-loose situation.
4. Creation of Belarusian collaborationist government.
In 1942-1943 the belarusian collaborationists were displaced by Generalkommissar Wilhelm Kube - the overseer of Belarus. Kube's chief collaborator was Ivan Ermachenka, often called "Herr Jawohl" for his devotion to Nazi. In 1943 Kube was killed by his belarusian mistress, who planted a bomb into his bed. General Gehlen has suggested in his memorandum to the High Command that steps be taken to appeal to the Russian people to join Germans in the fight against partisans. And so, General Kurt von Gottberg, who was assigned Kube's post, decided to offer belarusian collaborators a limited form of national autonomy. Radaslau Astrouski, who was at that time a mayor of Smalensk, was selected by the SS to head the new regime.
Astrouski appealed to Eastern belarusians as a former member of the 1918 BDR government. He was recognized also by the Western belarusians as a former active member of Hramada. And most of all he had been enjoying complete trust of Germans, with whom he associated in initial assault of Belarus in 1941. Realizing that Germans need him Astrouski bargained with SS for an independent Belarusian state complete with its army and congress. Gottberg was unwilling to go this far.
( his photo on the left) was permitted to form a temporary national council with
restricted authority and a centralized Belarusian home defense corps (BKA) from 20,000 men
in police battalions. Astrouski submitted a list of ministers for a Belarusian Central
Council (Rada) to Gottberg for his approval and organized collaborators in each provinces
and districts. Above are depicted the Headquaters of the Belarusian
Central Council in Minsk in 1943. Astrouski persuaded
the Germans to reduce their confiscation of crops and livestock from peasants. He had
announced general conscription to fill the ranks of BKA. Some 60,000 men were conscripted
with a hard core of the BKA made of 20,000 Kushel's polizei. General Gehlen was very
impressed by Astrouski organizational abilities. Dmitry Kasmovich, the police chief of
Smaliensk area has established an expanding ring of fortified villages around Smalensk. He
was followed in another areas. Large areas were swept clean of partizans.
Below is the list of the heads of administration of the Belarusian Central Council in 1943:
As a reward for this activity Astrouski has
received Gottberg's permission to call a convention of collaborators to solidify the power
of Belarusian Central Council (BCC).
In the late June 1944, again as in 1917, Minsk Opera House was filled with 1,039 delegates from all belarusian provinces. Depicted on the left is Joachim Kipel - president of the Second All-Belarusian Congress. After initial celebratory speaches and sending a telegram to Adolf Hitler with congratulations of his burthday Astrouski has departed from aproved by SS plan. He had announced that the work of temporal BCC is over and that delegates should choose the President of Belarus. Astrouski was immediately chosen President by acclamation. It was in fact a political coupe since later he could claim that he was chosen as a president by the "elected" delegates of Minsk Congress. In the middle of the "Congress" the delegates received the news that Red Army has ripped a great gap in the German front and is rapidly advancing. The SS assigned a special train that has carried 800 collaborators and their families to Germany on June 28, 1944. Astrouski left two days later since he was organizing evacuation.
Most of the recruits conscripted to BKA stayed in Belarus and were later scrutinized by Stalin's NKVD. But the 20,000 of Kushel's polizei earned special notoriety and knew that there would be no amnesty for them They marched a thousand miles to their new home. These units were absorbed into 30 Waffen-Greenadier-division der SS-Russiche No 2.This infantry division was formed from the remnants of the 29th Waffen-SS Division, which included Belarusian and Ukrainian units. It was not unusual since there were French, Dutch, Romanian, Hungarian, Yugoslavian and even Muslim units.
The 30th Division was considered experienced in fighting partisans, so it was immediately transfered to Asace-Lorraine to fight French underground. Astrouski persuaded Himmler to place belarusian part of 30 Division under Belarusian command. He had set up an officers' school and issued uniforms with "Waffen Sturm-brigade Belarus" designation. The symbol chosen was an ancient double cross of Efrasinnia Polackaia with two bars equal in length and parallel to each other. Soon the fresh belarusian cadets were thrown into battle against advancing Third Army of General Patton. Orders were issued for belarusian forces to be absorbed by Vlasov's Russian Army of Liberation. But Astrouski sabotaged it. He also sabotaged the idea of the Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia, since he did not wanted to align himself with russians.
In the meantime Himmler has issued a directive to organize a special task force under the command of famous SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny - who had executed the rescue operation of Mussolini. Under his command a paratroop and commando school was established at Dahlwitz, near Berlin, where belarusian nationalists were trained in radio communications, encoding, sabotage and assasinations. They were to organize a guerilla war against Red Army behind the frontline out of the former "polizei".
After a graduation parade in front of Astrouski
thirty belarusians were airdropped behind the frontline. These were known as "Black Cats" led by Michas' Vitushka (see his photo on
the left). They had some initial success due to dezorganization in the arriergard of
Soviet Army. Other belarusian units slipped through Belavezha Forest and full scale
guerilla war errupted in 1945. But NKVD had already infiltrated these units. Before
guerilla units could do much damage an entire population of the fifty-mile border strip
was resettled to Siberia. In about 3 months NKVD has destroyed the network of Skorzeny's
guerilla fighters and most of Astrouski's informants.
5. Post WWII. Belarusian Nazi in DP camps.
In spring 1945 Astrouski already felt that Third Reich is doomed and ordered Kushel to march the Belarus Brigade towards General Patton's Third Army. Patton was an outspoken anticommunist and Astrouski was hoping to find common grounds with him. The brigade members removed SS uniform and masking themselves as escaped POWs entered american lines. The Belarus SS settled down as prisoners in an American camp near Regensburg. Patton repeatedly urged that several of the best Waffen-SS divisions be incorporated into his Third Army so he could "lead them against the Reds". "We're going to have to fight them sooner or later. Why not now while our army is intact and we can kick the Red Army back into Russia? We can do it with my Germans... they hate those red bastards." - told he to General Joseph McNarney.
At Yalta conference Stalin demanded that all "fascist traitors" were returned back to USSR. During Operation Keelhaul mass deportation, more than 2 million people were shipped back to USSR by UK and USA. Many of them were executed right at the border. Those who escaped execution spent many years in Siberian gulags. Part of the Belarusian Central Council was escorted by Astrouski to British occupational zone. The other part was headed by Abramtchik to France. Hrynkievich was arrested by americans who have not yet realized strategic value of belarusian anti-communists. At a Big Three meeting in Potsdam official allies of USSR - Truman and Churchill were already in opposition to Stalin. At this time an extensive recruitment of former nazis was done by British and French intelligence.
France was historically involved in Poland and Belarus. Before WWII a "Prometheus" program was established in France - a Franco-Polish effort to provoke an anti-communist revolution in Belarus and Ukraine. In 1945 French established a Polish military mission which was in part occupied with recruitment of Belarusians. French even contacted indirectly General Patton suggesting to transfer Belarusians into their zone provided Americans are uncomfortable with them. According to one Belarus Brigade veteran an american officer has appeared one of the evenings in Regensburg DP camp and hinted to Belarusians that they will be better off with French. That evening american guard has pulled away from camp perimeter and Belarusian Brigade remnants headed straight for French border which was only few miles away. Only in October 1945 General Patton was relieved by General Eisenhower of his command of Third Army, in part because of his resistence to denazification program.
During the next few months a Belarusian school was established in French zone. Many of the former nazi criminals were now employed at United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (UNRRA) The former Minister of Administration of occupational Astrouski government - Jury Bartyshevich has forged new documents for most of belarusians, mostly changing the spellings of their names to Polish. At the end of 1945 Astrouski held a special meeting of the Belarusian Central Committee which decided to dissolve the government in order to avoid being sent back to Belarus as war criminals. Instead they have formed another front organization - Belarusian Central Representation (BCR), which began its operation in British zone under a new name but the same leadership.
The Western "Polish" faction was growing uncomfortable with Astrouski leadership. He was too known as a former nazi political leader. They have split off and formed Abramtchik faction in France. Abramtchik was an Intelligence Minister in Astrouski's Government in exile in Berlin. The work of Abramtchik in Gestapo and SS was secret and he was less compromised. Abramtchik offered to Allies another front organization - Belarusian Democratic Republic, which had been established in 1918 and existed as government-in-exile in Paris. After BDR was reestablished in Paris it has been expanding into British zone too. Soon it was funded by London-based Polish government -in-exile and Vatican. A special school was established in Vatican to encourage belarusian nationalism. The program of school included parachute training. One of the Vatican newspapers published a story about them with a headline:"They Fall from the Skies like Angels". Astrouski supporters were predominantly Orthodox christians and were blaimed by Abramtchik faction as being manipulated by Moscow. Both French and British has cut their links with Astrouski to avoid bad publicity. It is at that time Reinhard Gehlen and Americans took them under their consideration.
Gehlen was one of the supreme catches along with Nazi rocket scientists and engineers. As a head of German East-Front Intelligence he has accumulated vast amounts of priceless information about the USSR. He had buried fifty steel boxes with microfilm in Bavarian Alps and surrendered to Americans with his entire intelligence department in May 1945. General Edwin Sibert (12th Army Group's chief of intelligence) and Allen Dulles (OSS station chief of intelligence) have dressed Gehlen in an American General uniform and sent him to Washington for an extensive interrogation on August 22, 1945. Gehlen entered into pact with the U.S. government and returned to Germany in July 1946, where he had reestablished his Intelligence Department. He was under contract with Americans until April 1, 1956, when he became the chief of the Bundesnachtrichtendienst - the official intelligence service of the Federal Republic of Germany. He retired in 1968.
For a long time during the war Gehlen's office was located in Smolensk and he knew Astrouski, who commanded anti-partisan operations there, very well. And so in 1946 Gehlen offered his protection to Astrouski and his group in exchange for the fresh information about USSR, collected by Astrouski agents among emmigres in DP camps. This was the beginning of the long cooperation between Belarusian Nazi and Americans. Within two years after Germany's defeat Belarusian Nazi practically seized control in their DP camps. Franz Kushel acted as camp coordinator in DP camps at Regensburg and Michelsdorf, where most of the Belarusian Brigade had been reassembled. Stanislau Stankievich controlled Osterhofen camp. Military training was established under the excuse of veterans' clubs and boyscout organizations. Many people who were opposed to the brutality of this new regime were cut off food rations, even beaten. Americans ignored protests. A dual system of camps was established. One for legitimate refugees, another for former members of Belarusian Brigade. Many of them were selling secrets not only to Gehlen but also to other intelligence services.
6. US usage of Belarusian Nazi during the Cold War.
"Fighting Russians with Russians" was a concept that had long intrigued American Army intelligence. Early in 1947 Dr. Friedrich Buchardt, who was wanted as a major war criminal, has offered to exchange his experience of organization native collaborators in exchange for his safety. Buchardt has wrote an extensive manuscript analyzing German attempts to recruit local natives to fight USSR. He had described each operation in detail drawing conclusions out of mistakes made by germans. This manuscript was of such profound value that it became a manual for american intelligence. Within a month after the manuscript was received in Pentagon a Polish agent was caught with the list of former leaders of Belarusian Central Council retrieved for Polish communists. USSR was silent about this which heated up the interest of Americans to Belarusians. On October 31, 1947 the delegate to the UN from Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic denounced attempts of Western intelligence to employ belarusian nazi. He had listed the names and organizations of Belarusian nationalists in the West showing how closely MVD was watching them. Here is what he said about Astrouski:
"...In the town of Hoexter in the United Kingdom zone of occupation of Germany lives the butcher of the Byelorussian people, the President of the so-called "Byelorussian Central Council" set up by the Germans when they were temporarily in occupation of Byelorussia. He is Radislaw Ostrowsky, whose misdeeds the Byelorussian people will never forgive, wherever he may hide and whoever may hide him..."
In April 1948 the US National Security Council has ordered covert operations to make certain that the pro-Western Christian Democrats win elections in Italy. $10 million in secret funds were used to launch campaign that created a fear of a Communist takeover. Although the Communists gained many votes Christian Democrats remained in power. This success was credited to the US Office of Special Operations (OSO). This supported US Secretary of Defense James Forrestal position to use CIA as an active weapon. In May 1948, George Kennan produced a plan for permanent State Department agency to do worldwide what OSO had done in Italy. While CIA would continue with the routine collection and interpretation of information, this new agency, the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), would engage in a back-alley struggle against the Soviet Union. Frank Wisner was named a head of OPC by recommendation of Allen Dulles. He had already the knowledge of existence of the Belarusian Brigade out of the Stanislau Hrynkievich Third Army interrogation report. They seemed to be most organized and most suitable material for his operations against USSR.
Wisner and OPC had a plan to re-establish the Belarusian and Ukrainian SS underground networks. Then use them to supply the arms and equipment for his "special forces". Wisner believed that USSR will become a ground for many internal rebellions, which he intended to assist and, if necessary, instigate. And it would be only a matter of time when Western powers will become involved in war helping to overthrow the Soviet empire.
Wisner and Gehlen found that it is very easy to recruit jobless Belarusians, Poles, Balts, Ukrainians and anti-Stalinist Russians in DP camps. In a matter of weeks American and former Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS instructors were training recruits in hand-to-hand combat, radio transmissions and other spy activity. Wisner wanted to train his Nazi recruits in the US out of sight of Soviets and Allied intelligence. They were planned to get parachute instructions in Fort Bragg, NC and the secret base was established near Williamsburg, Virginia, where they could be trained in guerilla warfare without even knowing they are in the US. In the early 1950s several of these agents were parachuted into various regions of the Soviet Union from planes supplied by Wisner. They had forged documents, rubles, arms and portable radiostations. They were supposed to establish contacts with Gehlen agents and former polizei. Few of them were initially successful. Most were immediately arrested. Some of them were "turned" and transmitted false information back until Stalin would decide to make a political show out of their capture. Stalin's doctrine of "The Toughening of Proletariat Dictature" required constant re-confirmation in well publicized political shows - public court listenings of traitors, spies and the "enemies of people".
President Truman had imposed the ban on admitting ex-Nazis to US without alerting Immigration Service. This has complicated things for Wisner. But there was already a precedent created when nazi rocket and nuclear scientists were brought into US as prisoners of war (Operation Paperclip). USSR was conducting its own hunt for nazi scientist competing with US. Several of the Paperclip scientists brought by Pentagon to US without informing the President were war criminals, who participated in experiments on humans and employed slave labor. On August 7, 1948, during the debate on the DP bill, Congressman Arthur Klein of New York cited Stanislau Stankievich as an example of the war criminals hiding in refugee camps who should never be permitted in the US. Allerted by his speach, Congress has founded a three-tier system of review for emmigrating refugees. Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC) was the instrument in filtering out thousands of former nazi criminals attempting to enter the US. From now on Wisner had to perform special document laundry to bring his nazi for training.
7. Belarusian Nazi Leaders.
Father Mikalaj Lapicki (depicted on the left), an Orthodox priest, a delegate to Minsk congress of 1944 was producing false documents for Belarusian Nazis. Even the nazis who had received most publicity like Frantz Kushel and Stanislau Stankievich were able to enter the United States after several changes in their documents and some laundering of the files. They were working for OPC by that time. Stankievich even have been pablishing an OPC-funded newspaper. This was despite the fact that he had been an editor in chief of the "Ranitsa" - a pre-war pro-Nazi and anti-Allied paper published in Belarusian in Berlin.
One of the notorious belarusian Nazis was Emmanuel Jasiuk.
He was a native of Niasvizh and attended the University of Liege in Belgium. After
graduation he and his wife became the school teachers during the harsh Polish occupation
of Belarus. When the Red Army returned Western Belarus to BSSR in 1939, Jasiuk had fled to
Warsaw. He was one of the organizers of SS-sponsored belarusian "self-help"
committee in 1940-41.
After invasion into the USSR Jasiuk (depicted on the left) became a mayor of Klecak (Kletsk). One of his task was to assemble the lists of intellectuals, Communist sympathizers (hmm... it sounds very much like the bio of awarded yesterday an Oscar director - Ilia Kazan. Only this one is not Belarusian and he did it later in Hollywood, CA). Jasiuk had prepared a "final solution" of the Jews of Klecak in 1942. 5,000 jews were murdered in one day under his command and buried in long trenches behind Arinskaia Church in Klecak. After this he was promoted to Staubcy (Stolbcy), a much larger area. Astrouski had selected him as one of the featured speakers at the 1944 Belarusian convention in Minsk. Later Jasiuk worked on organization of belarusian collaborators in Berlin into the Belarus Brigade of SS. After the war Jasiuk was hiding in French zone under the name Max Jasinski. When American intelligence started to recruit nazis he brought to Wagenaar (OPC) the maps of some airfields in Urals. He was hired by Wagenaar as a translator, and as two official employees of the US State Department they were travelling through Germany establishing the network of former Belarus Brigade members. Jasiuk and Astrouski travelled together to France attempting to reach accord with an Abramtchyk party - all in vain. Later Jasiuk was brought by Wisner into US to recruit Belarusians The State Department officials have confirmed a phony Jasiuk's biography according to which he spent the war as slave laborer in a monastery.
Within a few months after Jasiuk emmigrated,
the CIC caught him attempting to bring to US Dzmitry Kasmovich - a former Smaliensk
polizei chief (depicted on the left). Kasmovich became later a head of Belarusian military
operations in London under the fake name "Zarechny". The protests of CIC have
finally reached General John Weckerling, chief of Military Intelligence at the Pentagon,
who agreed that the Nazi smuggling operation was deplorable. Weckerling told about the
case to Hoover on January 2, 1951. Hoover's FBI agents visited Jasiuk but instead of the
prosecution they have recruited him.
At this time Wisner was also saving the members of Ukrainian torture squad (SB)- Stephan Bandera's Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists - OUN/Bandera - from INS. He wrote a letter to INS explaining:
"...Although the SB is known to have used extra-legal methods while investigating or interrogating suspected Soviet agents, there have been few cases to date where it was possible to pin a specific criminal activity on any individual belonging to SB...
...Over 35,000 members of the Russian secret police (MVD-MKGB) have been killed by OUN-UPA since the end of the last war. In other words, the main activities of the OUN in the Ukraine cannot be considered detrimental to the United States...
...By summer 1941 a battle raged on Ukrainian soil between two ruthless exploiters and persecutors of the Ukrainian people, the Third Reich and Soviet Russia. The OUN and the partisan army it created in late 1942, UPA, fought bitterly against both Germans and the Soviet Russians."
The letter conclusively stated that OUN/SB never collaborated with Nazi. This was a complete fabrication since CIC had eleven volumes of secret internal files of OUN/Bandera which show how most of its members worked for Gestapo or SS.
On June 25-26, 1949, the remaining members of the Belarus network in Europe held their last conference in Germany at the Backnang DP camp near Stuttgart. They have decided to "transfer the entire organization to the United States, in as much as all the officers were there.". In 1952 Allen Dulles (an old friend of Wisner) was named a Director of Central Intelligence and Eisenhower was elected a President. With unlimited funds and support Wisner has expanded his operation. Frantz Kushel, now the leader of Abramtchyk faction, was able to establish the White Ruthenian Institute of Arts and Sciences at 8 Alabama Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. Abramtchyk remained in Paris. The institute was supplying intelligence reports supposedly generated by Kushel's spy network in Eastern Europe. In reality, most of these agents had been long captured by Soviets. Kushel fabricated his reports from newspapers, old books, radio broadcasts and gossips. Nevertheless Wisner was so pleased with the work of the Institute that he had expanded the program and opened a number of institutes for other nations with the headquaters in Munich, Germany. The chairman of the board of the Institute of Russian Research in Munich was Stanislau Stankievich. Funding for these "research institutes", which were little more than front groups for ex-Nazi intelligence officers, came from the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism (AMCOMLIB), now known as Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe. The Committee was a front for OPC. AMCOMLIB was originally a subsidiary organization of the National Committee for a Free Europe (NCFE), which was set up by George Kennan in the State Department long before the CIA became involved. Money for the NCFE and AMCOMLIB was raised through the "private" fund-raising efforts of the "Crusade for Freedom". Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan were among those who solicited public contributions. Over 90% of its income though came from secret accounts of the CIA rather than public donations. The State Department laundered the money through private charities, such as the Rockefeller Fund, the Carnegie Fund, and the Ford Foundation's Russian Research Committee, which in turn claimed credit in public for their donations. (I wonder what is all about this latest buzz with the Soros Foundation in Belarus?) Some of the funds went through corporate conduits, such as the Radio Corporation of America, which in turn "donated" equipment to Wisner's front groups. (Hmm... So David Sarnoff, the founder of RCA and NBC, originally born in Belarus, did participate in Belarus' fate after all).
Only few of Belarusian Nazis were hired by
AMCOMLIB. Majority of Belarusian intelligentsia found jobs at hospitals, academic
positions, architectural firms. The former Abramtchyk faction was headed now by Kushel and
was centered around Brooklyn, N.Y. The Astrouski faction was centered in South River, New
Jersey. Between 1948 and 1950 over 200 Belarusian Nazis arrived to South River, NJ with
their families. Astrouski himself was still hiding in Argentina with the help of
British intelligence. "Zhurtavanie Belarusau U Argentinie" was located at Calle
Itapariu 2681 V. Alcina, Buenos Aires. Belarus activity in America was now directed by
Sabaleuski - vice-president of the Belarusian Central Council (depicted on the left). He
had sent Kushel with commission from BCC to Ukrainian convention in D.C. in an attempt to
rehabilitate BCC. Comission was signed by Radaslau Astrouski - the President of the
Belarusian Central Council - and had a seal of his wartime administration. In February
1951 the first Belarusian convention in America was held in South River. The delegates
have sent letters to President Truman and General Eisenhower, promising to supply armed
troops for the struggle against communism.
By spring 1951 the Abramtchyk faction began to disintegrate. The few parachutists that had been sent to USSR had been captured. Some of them had appeared in Moscow at press-conferences to exhibit American and British equipment they've been supplied. The "special forces" school in Germany turned out to be full of Soviet spies. Kim Philby had been informing USSR about Ukrainian parachutists. 500 albanians armed and trained in Greece were met in Albania by awaiting communist troops. As a result, FBI and Wisner have dropped Abramtchyk faction in 1951 and focused on Astrouski network. On March 28, 1951, two FBI agents have contacted Jasiuk in South River, NJ. By the fall of 1951 FBI has collected enough information to confront Sabaleuski. Sabaleuski had admitted that Belarusian Central Representation is a cover for Belarusian Central Council, which collaborated with Nazi during the WWII. He admitted that the government had raised 65 batalions to form national militia, but he did not mentioned that the batalions later formed Belarus SS Brigade and fought against Allied Forces. He described a worldwide network of Astrouski which included branches in England, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and Germany.On April 13, 1952 one of Sabaleuski aides appeared in FBI headquarters in New York and provided a complete review of Belarusian activity, pressing on anti-communism and downgrading Nazi background. It was the beginning of the most successful cooperation between Belarusian Nazi and FBI.
8. The rise and fall of Belarusian Nazi in U.S. Intelligence.
At this time Wisner was busy supplying KGB with fake documents that were compromising Communist Party members. As a result thousands of Party members were prosecuted due to Wisner's operation in Stalin's purges. Astrouski suggested Wisner from Argentina a plan to contact some of his former friends in Poland, with whom he was a long time in "Hramada" Some of these communists were even saved by Astrouski from Nazi during WWII. Some of them were unhappy with Soviet invasion into Poland and were potential agents. Wisner was happy to obtain a chance to penetrate far behind the Iron Curtain. He had funneled millions of dollars into Poland financing this operation. It turned out that the operation was carefully monitored by Soviet KGB and after a wave of arrests in 1952 most of important anticommunist contacts in the Eastern block were lost. At this time Wisner started to realise that his network is deeply penetrated by Soviets.
Angry for the loss of funding and influence, the Abramtchyk faction has published in a Belarusian newspaper in Germany article attacking Astrouski, Kasmovich and their Nazi past, blowing up their covers. One after another "the underground armies" of Wisner were eliminated through multiple leaks of information. Only in 1952 Wisner had spent tens of millions of dollars on these fruitless plans. President Eisenhower appointed a special committee to conduct an investigation of Wisner's operations. Below is a fragment of the September 1954 Dolittle's report:
"It is now clear that we are facing an implicable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost. There are no rules in such game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the United States is to survive, long-standing American concepts of "fair play" must be reconsidered. We must develop effective espionage and counterespionage services and must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated, and more effective methods than those used against us. It may become necessary that American people be made acquainted with, understand and support this fundamentally repugnant philosophy".
As a result of this investigation Wisner's operations were expanded even further. Belarusians were direct beneficiaries of Doolittle's "Anti-Communist Manifesto". The funding was increased. Harvard University was linked to Wisner programs through establishing The Harvard Institute for Russian Research, funded by OPC. Eastern European emigres from DP camps were interviewed in this Institute on general topics of history, culture etc. But any emigres who exibited knowledge of Nazi collaborators or intelligence networks were directed to a second set interrogators. During this second round such topics as the best method for dropping paratroopers would be discussed.
Large number of Belarusian and other Eastern European Nazis were hired by Wisner and OPC into various propaganda agencies. The two most important were Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, both of which were funded by the Crusade for Freedom. After 1953 most of these agencies were stuffed by Nazi collaborators. Radio Liberty was a haven for Belarusian Nazi. Among others Anton Adamovich was employed there, who had openly admitted in TV interview that he was a Nazi collaborator and worked for U.S. Army intelligence. Stankievich was a chairman of the Institute of Russian Research in Munich, which had been placed under Radio Liberty. Many of his followers from Abramchyk faction were hired at Radio Liberty. After the famous Berlin wiretap tunnel was dug in 1953 many of Belarusians were hired to translate captured communications. A few, including Kushel were hired as consultants by military and academic organizations.
On June 26, 1956, riots broke out in Posnan, Poland, which were brutally put down by the Soviets. There were demands that United States would "do something". Wisner and his "underground armies" were pressured into some action. Wisner managed to convince others that his forces are not ready yet. But another revolt erupted in Hungary in late October 1956. Armed with only small arms the youthful rebels proclaimed Hungary a free nation. There is a strong blame that Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty have created hope among the uprising hungarians that there will be help from the West. Nikita Hruschov had sent 200, 000 Soviet troops to put down the Hungarian uprising. The fighters were desperately appealing to Munich for help through their radiostation. Wisner was euphorical. He had expected that this will spread through to Poland, Czhechoslovakia and East Germany. He pleaded for permission to airlift arms and medicaments but had no response frpm Washington. The situation was complicated by the war of Israelis-French-British for Suez Canal against Egypt. Hungarians did not received any help. The uprising was supressed by Soviet tanks. Suddenly the ideas of "liberation" and "rolling back iron curtain" appeared to be hollow. General Lucian Truscott was assigned by the President to investigate Wisner's operation. He discovered that dispite the failure of Polish and Hungarian uprising Wisner was pressing with the same plan for Czechoslovakia. The general convinced the President that the outcome in Czechoslovakia would be as disastrous as it was in Hungary. Wisner's operations were closed down and his agents were dispersed. Over the next few years Wisner suffered several nervous breakdowns and finally he killed himself with a 20-gauge shotgun on his Maryland farm.
After dissolution of the remnants of Wisner's secret army, his "special forces" became a nucleous of the Green Berets. Belarusian Nazis were facing difficult times. CIA had realised by now that most of the so-called intelligence sources were just "paper mills" where Nazis were fabricating information in exchange for survival. CIA had cut the funding of these emigre organizations and there was even talk about closing Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), where many of the former Nazis were employed. Nevertheless CIA continued funding RFE/RL at a cost of about $35 million a year until 1971, when a policy of open funding by congressional appropriation was approved.
In 1961 Franz Kushel and Emanuel Jasiuk were exposed by Yiddish-language newspaper, The Morning Freiheit, published in New York. After a great deal of pressure from Congress the INS opened an investigation in 1962. Interestingly, the Library of Congress had all this time the books published in USSR, naming most of the Belarusian collaborators. Such, the book "Collaborators in Crime" displayed photographs of captured Belarusian paratroopers with U.S. government issued equipment. The book also named most of the Belarusian Nazi government of 1943-44 and traced them to after-war employees of the Radio Liberty. The INS investigators turned to FBI for help without knowing that FBI knew all the time about the Nazi activity in US. Several years different involved US agencies have played cats and mice, withholding information, rewriting files, lying about involved authorities etc. In the end several most notorious Belarusian war criminals were exposed and prosecuted. But majority of the cases has rested in oblivion. Many of former Belarusian Nazis are now buried in a South River Belarusian graveyard, including Radaslau Astrouski, Emanuel Jasiuk. Depicted on the left is a monument to Belarusian Nazi WWII veterans in South River, NJ, bearing an emblem of the Belarus SS Brigade.
This was only the first decade of the Cold War. The rest of the story we are just beginning to learn as the secrets of Cold War are being unvailed.
These are the sad pages of the history of Belarusian National Liberation movement. Most of these facts were not publicized in the USSR because the idea of Belarusian People wanting to break free from USSR was absolutely forbidden. All we've learned in our course of history were the stories about traitorous beasts and fanatical diversants trying to overthrow USSR to regain their capitalist and feudal priviliges. These stories were not welcomed in the USA, Great Britain and France too, since they were showing how politicians were manipulating their peoples. Today national liberation movement in Belarus draws its momentum from different sources and historical backgrounds. Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe still exists. Belarusian Institute of Arts and Sciences still works in N.Y. The government-in-exile of Belarusian Democratic Republic has its own webpage. The horrible past of Belarus is still very real, is influencing Belarus today and is still threatening our future. That is why we consider providing this information extremely important for directing our political future to a real democracy. We can only repeat John Loftus again to outline our motivation behind the creation of these pages:
In a democratic society, there is only one hard way of liberation:
Truth Shall Make You Free
John Loftus "The Belarus Secret",
edited by Nathan Miller, Alfred A. Knopf Inc., New York, 1982.
D804.B93L63 1982 940.54'05 82-48483
John Loftus is a former trial attorney for the Justice Department Office of Special Investigations. This page is heavily based on the book by John Loftus. We have used a lot of factual material and often even exact wording of the book. We have incorporated our own perspective in evaluation of events, but the factual material was obtained from the book. "The Belarus Secret" by John Loftus definitely gives an entire new perspective on Belarusian national liberational movement. It must be read by every Belarusian historian and any conscious Belarusian..
Compiled March 25, 1999
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