The Belarusian Youth Union in Germany
The idea of creating a Belarusian youth organisation was favoured by the head of Minsk occupation civil government commissioner General Wilhelm Kube. From the autumn of 1941 he supported initiatives of teachers and the Belarusian National Charity activists in the field of upbringing young people. However, to found an official regional organisation, it was necessary to obtain consent from the Minister of the Occupied Eastern Territories Alfred Rosenberg. Being rather sceptical about the prospects of reorienting young Belarusians, he postponed taking a decision more than once. It was Fabijan Akinčyc and his young associate Henryk Baranovič who played an important role in the formation of the Belarusian Youth Union (BYU). The latter worked up a draft statute and was able to gain support from the Reichsjugendführung and the head of the youth department of Rosenberg’s Ministry. In the early 1943 both the institutions recommended appointing Baranovič as the head of the BYU. However, following Baranovič’s clash with the Belarusian National Charity Head Ivan Jermačenka and his team, in February 1943 Kube turned down Baranovič and charged Michaś Hańko with co–ordinating the BYU activities, although the appointment faced some opposition. In addition Kube cut Baranovič’s provisions out of the draft statute, so that the latter could not represent the BYU in Germany.
It was only after Kube’s death that the situation changed. On November 12, 1943 Baranovič was appointed the head of the BYU Work Group in Germany. Later on he became the BYU representative in Berlin. As such, he was taken on staff of the Ministry’s youth department and had his office at 79 Klössersträsse, Berlin. Among other things, Baranovič published Małady Zmahar monthly for the BYU workers. Following the evacuation from Belarus in the autumn of 1944, the number of BYU members in Germany reached 10 to 11 thousand. Approximately half of them belonged to the BYU Work Group with Baranovič at its head, while the others participated in the German military units, supervised by Hańko. A lot of BYU members studied at Kryvija school, to come then in charge of children and teenagers forcefully displaced by Wermacht from Belarus. In the spring of 1945, the Belarusian Central Council sent some of the youths to Division 30 (Belarusian Division No. 1), that in late April were taken prisoners by the American army. However, most of the young workers found themselves in the Soviet occupation zone and were re–patriated.