Radasłaŭ Astroŭski

Radasłaŭ Astroŭski (Belarusian: Радаслаў Астроўскі; Polish: Radosław Ostrowski; 25 October 1887, Zapolle, Minsk Governorate, Russian Empire – 17 October 1976, Benton Harbor, Michigan, United States) was a Belarusian nationalist political activist and political leader, notably serving as president of the Belarusian Central Rada, a puppet Belarusian government under German administration in 1943–1944.

Radasłaŭ Astroŭski
Belarusian Auxiliary Police with Astrouski
Radasłaŭ Astroŭski inspects Belarusian Auxiliary Police
Born25 October 1887
Zapolle, Slutsk Uyezd, Minsk Governorate
Died17 October 1976 (aged 88)
NationalityBelarusian and American
OccupationNationalist political activist and political leader

Early years

Radasłaŭ Astroŭski was born on 25 October 1887 in the town of Zapolle, Slutsk Uyezd, Minsk Governorate. He studied at the Slutsk gymnasium, but was expelled for participating in the Russian Revolution of 1905–1907. In 1908 he was accepted to the mathematical faculty of Saint Petersburg University. In 1911, he was arrested for taking part in revolutionary riots and was imprisoned at Saint Petersburg and Pskov.

After his release in 1912, he re-entered the university and later transferred to the University of Tartu, from where he graduated with a degree in physics and mathematics.

After University, Astroŭski worked as a teacher in Częstochowa, Poland and in Minsk. From 1915 to 1917 he taught at the Minsk Teaching Institute. After the February Revolution of 1917 he became the commissar of the Provisional Government in Slutsk paviet. In September of the same year he founded the Slutsk Belarusian Gymnasium and became its principal.

Astroŭski opposed the October Revolution of 1917. He was a delegate to the December 1917 First All-Belarusian Congress and published articles where he supported the idea of Belarusian independence. In 1918 Astroŭski was Education Minister in the government of the Belarusian Democratic Republic under Prime Minister Raman Skirmunt.[1] He also took part in the 1920 Slutsk defence action against the Red Army.

Political activity in West Belarus

In 1921, he moved into West Belarus in the Second Polish Republic. He served as principal of the Belarusian Gymnasium of Vilnia from 1924 to 1936.[1]

In the second half of the 1920s, he radically changed his political views. In 1924 he initiated the creation of a Polish-Belarusian Society that supported the Polish government. After the breakdown of the Society, Astroŭski cooperated with the Belarusian Communist Party (of Bolsheviks) and with the Communist Party of West Belarus, and managed the illegal komsomol cell in his gymnasium.

In 1925 and 1926 he was the vice-chairman of the Belarusian Peasants' and Workers' Union,[1] the chairman of the Belarusian School Society, and the principal of the Belarusian Cooperation Bank in Wilno, used to transfer finances to the BPWU.[1] In 1926, Astroŭski joined the Communist Party of West Belarus and was arrested by the Polish police. However, during the trial against the Hramada he was found not guilty.

From 1928, he once again changed his political orientation and started to call for cooperation with Polish officials. For that he was condemned by many leaders of the Western Belarusian national movement.

In the mid-1930s he published various works in Belarusian calendar books and in the "Rodny Kraj" newspaper, under the pseudonym "Era". In 1936 he had to leave Wilno and moved to Łódź.

Collaboration with Germans

During the German occupation of 1939–1945, Astroŭski actively cooperated with German officials. In 1941 he moved to Minsk and worked in civil administration. He also created Belarusian administrations in Bryansk, Smolensk and Mahilyow and spent certain time as a Bürgermeister in all of those cities.

In 1943, Radasłaŭ Astroŭski became the president of Belarusian Central Rada, a very limited national government, which the Nazis (who had begun to lose on the Eastern front) allowed to be created in order to gain some sympathy from the Belarusian population and therefore to be able to use them against the Soviet army. Although the Rada did not have much real power, it was allowed to manage certain civil issues.

Astroŭski was one of the main organisers of the Second All-Belarusian Congress in 1944.

Astroŭski and his cohorts supported the annihilation of Jews, but had relatively little involvement in carrying out the mass murders.[2]


After the war, Astroŭski fled the Soviets and ended up in West Germany and lived in the Volksgartenstraße in Langenfeld, Rhineland.[3] In 1956, he moved to the United States and lived in South River, New Jersey. He actively participated in Belarusian national activism aboard, and was the main ideologist of the BCR as the legitimate Belarusian government in exile, thus not admitting such status for the main Belarusian People's Republic Council. Astroŭski became a member of the central committee of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations.[4]

Astroŭski died on 17 October 1976 in Benton Harbor, Michigan.[5] He was buried at the Saint Euphrosynia Belarus Orthodox Church Cemetery in South River, New Jersey.


  1. ^ a b c d Hardzijenka, Aleh (2009). Беларускі Кангрэсовы Камітэт Амэрыкі (БККА) [The Belarusian Congress Committee of America (BCCA)] (in Belarusian). Smolensk: BINIM.
  2. ^ Efraim Zuroff: Occupation, Nazi-hunter: the continuing search for the perpetrators of the Holocaust. KTAV, 1994, p. 40.
  3. ^ "FRAN CLS WASH TRACES REQUESTED" (PDF). Central Inelligence Agency. 29 August 1952. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  4. ^ mfront.net
  5. ^ Grave inscription

External links

Belarusian Central Council

The Belarusian Central Council or the Belarusian Central Rada (Belarusian: Беларуская Цэнтральная Рада, Biełaruskaja Centralnaja Rada; German: Weißruthenischer Zentralrat) was a Belarusian representative body with limited governmental functions during World War II in the German occupied Belarusian SSR. It was established by Nazi Germany within Reichskommissariat Ostland in 1943–44, following a requests by the collaborationist Belarusian politicians hoping to create an independent Belarusian state with support of Nazi Germany.

Belarusian Gymnasium of Vilnia

The Belarusian Gymnasium of Vilnia (Belarusian: Віленская беларуская гімназія) was an important Belarusian school in Vilnius. Many notable Belarusian national leaders of the 20th century graduated from the school.

Belarusian Independence Party

The Belarusian Independence Party (Belarusian: Беларуская незалежніцкая партыя, БНП, Biełaruskaja Niezaležnickaja Partyja, BNP) was a Belarusian nationalistic military organization during the Second World War.

Byelorussia in World War II

Byelorussia (also known as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic), known today as Belarus was a republic of the Soviet Union when World War II began. The borders of Byelorussia were greatly expanded in the invasion of Poland of 1939 and finalized after World War II. Following the German military disasters at Stalingrad and Kursk, a collaborationist Byelorussian self-government (BCR) was formed by the Germans in order to drum up local support for their anti-Soviet operations. The Byelorussian BCR in turn formed the twenty-thousand strong Belarusian Home Defence (BKA), active from 23 February 1944 to 28 April 1945. Assistance was offered by the local administrative governments from the Soviet era, and prewar public organizations including the former Soviet Belarusian Youth. The country was soon overrun by the Red Army. Devastated by the war, Belarus lost significant populations and economic resources. Many battles occurred in Belarusian territory or neighboring lands. Belarusian people also participated in regional conflicts.

Byelorussian Auxiliary Police

The Byelorussian Auxiliary Police (Belarusian: Беларуская дапаможная паліцыя, romanized: Biełaruskaja dapamožnaja palicyja; German: Weißruthenische Schutzmannschaften, or Hilfspolizei) was a collaborationist paramilitary force established in July 1941. Staffed by local inhabitants from German-occupied Byelorussia, it had similar functions to those of the German Ordnungspolizei in other occupied territories. The activities of the formation were supervised by defense police departments, local commandants' offices, and garrison commandants. The units consisted of one police officer for every 100 rural inhabitants and one police officer for every 300 urban inhabitants. The OD was in charge of guard duty, and included both stationary and mobile posts plus groups of orderlies. It was subordinate to the defense police leadership.

Byelorussian Home Defence

The Belarusian Home Defence, or the Byelorussian Home Guard (Belarusian: Беларуская краёвая абарона, Bielaruskaja Krajovaja Abarona, BKA) was a name of the collaborationist volunteer battalions formed by the Belarusian Central Council (1943–1944), a pro-Nazi Belarusian self-government within Reichskommissariat Ostland during World War II.The BKA operated from February 23, 1944 to April 28, 1945. The 20,000 strong Belarusian Home Defence Force was formed under the leadership of Commissioner-General Curt von Gottberg, with logistical help from the German 36th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS known as the "Poachers' Brigade" commanded by Oskar Dirlewanger.

Byelorussian collaboration with Nazi Germany

During World War II, some Belarusians collaborated with the invading Axis powers. Until the beginning of Operation Barbarossa in 1941, the territory of Belarus was under control of the Soviet Union, as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. However, memories of the Soviet repressions in Belarus and collectivization, as well as of the polonization and discrimination of Belarusians in the Second Polish Republic were still fresh, and many people in Belarus wanted an independent Belarus. Many Belarusians chose to cooperate with the invaders in order to achieve that goal, assuming that Nazi Germany might allow them to have their own independent state after the war ended.

The Belarusian organizations never received any administrative control over the territory of Belarus, the real power was in the hands of the German civil and military administrations. The collaborationist Belarusian Central Rada, presenting itself as a Belarusian governmental body, was formed in Minsk a few months before Belarus was taken over by the Soviet Army.

Before the war, a Belarusian National Socialist Party was formed by a small group of Belarusian nationalists in Poland-controlled West Belarus in 1933. The group was far less influential than other Belarusian political parties in interwar Poland, such as the Belarusian Peasants' and Workers' Union and the Belarusian Christian Democracy. BNSP was banned by the Polish authorities in 1937. Its leaders left for Berlin and became one of the first advisers to the Germans at the onset of Operation Barbarossa.

German occupation of Byelorussia during World War II

The occupation of Belarus by Nazi Germany started with the German invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 (Operation Barbarossa) and ended in August 1944 with the Soviet Operation Bagration. The western parts of the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (as of 1940) became part of the Reichskommissariat Ostland in 1941, but in 1943 the German authorities allowed local collaborators to set up a client state, the Belarusian Central Rada, that lasted until the Soviets liberated the region.

List of Belarus-related topics

This is a list of topics related to Belarus. Those interested in the subject can monitor changes to the pages by clicking on Related changes in the sidebar.

List of World War II puppet states

During World War II a number of countries were conquered and controlled. Some of these countries were then given new names, and assigned new governmental leaders which were loyal to the conquering country. These countries are known as puppet states. Germany and Japan were the two countries with the most puppet states. Italy also had several puppet states. Most of the Allies (with the exception of the Soviet Union) did not have many puppet states.

Mikola Abramchyk

Mikola Abramchyk (Belarusian: Мікола Абрамчык, Russian: Николай Абрамчик, Hebrew: מיקעולא אברמצ'יק‎), (August 16, 1903 in Maładziečna region, Russian Empire – May 29, 1970 in Paris, France) was a Belarusian journalist and emigre politician of Ottoman Jewish and Armenian descent and president of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in exile during 1943–1970.


Ostrowski (masculine, Polish pronunciation: [ɔsˈtrɔfskʲi]), Ostrowska (feminine), or Ostrowscy (plural) is a surname of Polish-language origin.

South River, New Jersey

South River is a borough in Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 16,008, reflecting an increase of 686 (+4.5%) from the 15,322 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 1,630 (+11.9%) from the 13,692 counted in the 1990 Census.What is now South River was originally formed as the town of Washington within East Brunswick Township on February 23, 1870. South River was incorporated as an independent borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 28, 1898, replacing Washington town. It was named after the South River, which marks the borough's eastern and northeastern boundary.

St. Euphrosynia Belarusian Orthodox Church

The St. Euphrosynia Belarusian Orthodox Church is a Belarusian Greek Orthodox church in South River, New Jersey. The archdiocese is the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A.. The head of the church is Rev. Fr. Michael Psenechnuk. It is named after Euphrosyne of Polotsk.

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