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The Nieswiez uprising (Polish: Powstanie nieswieskie) was a failed anti-Bolshevik insurrection of Polish residents of the town of Nieswiez, now Nesvizh, Belarus. It took place on March 14–19, 1919, and as a result, the victorious Bolsheviks shot five leaders of the uprising. The Nieswiez Uprising was commemorated by two monuments, one of which still exists.

Background[]

In early 1919, Nieswiez was captured without fight by the Bolsheviks, who advanced westwards, behind German troops of the Ober Ost. In February 1919, the Polish-Soviet War began, and Polish forces moved eastwards, clashing with the Red Army. The residents of Nieswiez, who anticipated the arrival of Polish troops any day, decided to start an anti-Bolshevik rebellion, headed by principal of the local grammar school, Mieczyslaw Wolnisty.

In the night of March 14/15, 1919, the rebels seized key buildings in the town, and liquidated local council. Some Communist leaders were killed, including Soviet-Jewish commissars Rozenblum and Grynblat. Other Bolsheviks abandoned the town and headed towards Minsk, requesting help along the way.

On April 19, the Red Army re-entered Nieswiez without fighting, as rebel forces were too weak, and Polish Army troops still were too far away. Soon afterwards, the Cheka arrested five Polish leaders: Mieczyslaw Wolnisty, Polikarp Kolenda, Jozef Januszkiewicz, Konstanty Szydlowski and Stanislaw Iwanowski. All were taken to the complex of former Bernardine monastery, which was used by the Soviets as a prison. On March 24, they were shot in a forest near Nieswiez.

Aftermath[]

Following the Polish-Soviet War, Nieswiez became part of the Second Polish Republic, and two monuments, commemorating the rebellion, were built. One was located in the center of the town, and was destroyed during World War Two. The other one was erected on March 24, 1926 at a local Roman Catholic cemetery, on the tomb of the five shot Polish leaders. The monument, which was founded by students and teachers of the local school, still exists. After 1990, it was renovated.

Sources[]

  • Pod red. Anny Kaminski: Miescy pamiaci achwiarau kamunizmu u Biełarusi. Lipsk: Fundacja Badań nad Dyktaturą SED, 2011, s. 278

See also[]

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