Kušel (Kušal) Francišak (also spelled Kushel, Kushal Franc; Кушэль, Кушаль Францішак), military commander, political leader, historian. Francišak Kušel was born in the village of Piaršai, near the town of Vałožyn, into a peasant family on February 16, 1895. He died in Rochester, N.Y. on May 25, 1968. Kušel studied in the local grammar school and later in the secondary school in the town of Ivianiec. In 1915 Kušel was drafted and sent to Military College in Poltava, Ukraine. Then he spent several years at the front and was decorated with combat orders. After the February Revolution, Kušel came to Miensk and became involved in the Belarusian movement with which he was familiar from his early years when he helped to distribute the newspaper Naša Niva in his village. During the Polish occupation of Eastern Belarus (1919-1920), Kušel was one of the members of the Belarusian Military Commission, working closely with Aleś Harun (Prušynski). Kušel elaborated on the theoretical aspects and structure of the Belarusian Army. After the partition of Belarus in 1921, Kušel settled in Western Belarus and entered the military service. For most of the time Kušel served on Polish territory and had numerous commanding posts. Kušel was taken prisoner of war by the Soviets during the Polish-Soviet conflict of 1939. He was for a short time imprisoned in Moscow with Gen. Anders and by some miracle he escaped the fate of the Polish officers in Katyn. During World War II Kušel was one of the first organizers and commanders of the Belarusian Military Units which eventually formed the nucleus of the Belarusian Army.

After the war Kušel organized the Association of Belarusian Veterans, a world-wide organization. He emigrated to the United States in 1950 and assisted in the organization of Belarusians in this country. From 1952 to 1954 he served as chairman of the Belarusian-American Association. Francišak Kušel was a highly erudite military historian and contributed numerous important works to the history of the Belarusian military and the military history of Belarusian lands in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

References: The New York Times, New York, May 27, 1968, 47:1; Daily News, New York, May 27, 1968; Democrat Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y., May 29, 1968; Biełarus, New York, no. 134, 1968.

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