Alachnovič Francišak (other spellings: Olechnowicz, Aliakhnovich; Аляхновіч Францішак), artist, writer, producer, reporter, civic and political leader. Francišak Alachnovič was born into an impoverished Belarusian noble family in Vilna on March 9, 1883. He studied in Vilna, the University of Cracow, and the Drama School in Warsaw. He frequently spent time in Belarus and was befriended by the leadership of Naša Niva, especially by Alaksandar Burbis, Alojza Paškievič and Ihnat Bujnicki. Alachnovič's name is intimately interwoven with the development of the Belarusian Theater. He and Bujnicki are the two men who virtually created the Belarusian Theater and brought Belarusian Drama to the masses. Through the theater these cultural leaders became effective propagators of Belarusian political ideas and the concepts of Belarusian statehood. After the revolutionary years, Francišak Alachnovič remained in Vilna, continuing to be active in Belarusian political and cultural life. Alachnovič received an invitation from the Government of Soviet Belarus to attend a Belarusian Linguistic Conference in Miensk in 1926. However, while in Soviet Belarus, Alachnovič was arrested and sentenced to labor camps where he spent seven years. In the early 30s he was exchanged for a Belarusian political prisoner in Poland, Branisłaŭ Taraškievič. He told about his experience in the Soviet concentration camps in the book entitled In the Clutches of the GPU. Alachnovič was assassinated by the Soviets in Vilna on March 3, 1944.

References: Novy Šlach, Miensk-Riga, no. 6(42), March 1944, pp. 6-7; Biełarus, New York, no. 311, 1983; Biełaruski Śviet, Grand Rapids, Mich., no. 20(49), 1988, pp. 39-49.

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