November 5, 1907|
Nesvizh, Russian Empire
|Died||April 27, 2006
Munich, Germany
|Allegiance||Belarusian Democratic Republic|
|Commands held||Chorny Kot|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
General Michał Vituška (Belarusian: Міхал Вітушка; 5 November 1907 Nesvizh – 27 April 2006, Munich) was a Belarusian anti-Soviet partisan leader in the early years after World War II.
Michał Vituška was born in the city of Nesvizh (then part of the Russian Empire) and studied in Belarusian gymnasiums in Kletsk, Wilno. He graduated from a university in Prague and the Warsaw University of Technology. During his years of study Vituška was an active participant of Belarusian cultural and political organisations.
In 1939, after the Soviet invasion of Poland, the territories of West Belarus were annexed by the USSR. The local population remained disaffected towards the Soviet occupants, so when Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, many people organized around the Belarusian Central Rada, a Belarusian representative council in the Nazi-occupied Belarus, Vituška among them.
Still, soon some Belarusian national activists including Vituška formed a conspirative Belarusian Independence Party (Беларуская Незалежніцкая Партыя) and started preparing an anti-Nazi uprising with the goal to revive the Belarusian Democratic Republic. The uprising did not take place and most members of the party fled to the West.
Meanwhile, special units of local collaborationists were trained by the Germans to infiltrate the Soviet rear. In 1944 thirty Belarusians (known as "Chorny Kot" (Black Cat) and personally led by Vituška) were airdropped by the Luftwaffe behind the lines of the Red Army, which had already taken over Belarus during Operation Bagration. Some other German-trained Belarusian nationalist units also slipped through the Białowieża Forest in 1945. By that time Vituška was given the status of a general by the Belarusian People’s Republic exile government.
The anti-Soviet partisans experienced some initial success due to disorganization in the rear of the Red Army. In 1945 Vituška became the coordination centre leader of the anti-soviet resistance partisan movement in Belarus. The NKVD had already infiltrated these units, and by mid 1950s they were neutralized. At the beginning of the 1950s most of the leaders of the resistance movement had to escape to the West.
Soviet intelligence launched a hunt for Vituška, seeking to kill him as they did with he Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera who was killed by the KGB in 1959. Vituška successfully hid in several Western countries and was not found by the Soviet hunters. He outlived the Soviet Union and died in 2006.