Branislau Adamavich Tarashkievich
(January 20, 1892 - November 29, 1938)
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The following is primarily from the Historical Dictionary of Belarus (1998), (pages 202-03), as well as other sources:
"Philologist and political leader in West Belarus who led the Belarusan parliamentary opposition in the Polish parliament. He graduated from Petrograd University and authored his popular, Belaruskaja hramatika dla shkol (Belarusian School Grammar) which greatly contributed to the standardization of the modern Belarusan written language and the spread of literacy, and continues to be an important Belarusian grammar reference." [N.B. The Belarusian School Grammar has been re-published many times, including in New York in 1992.]
"While working as a teacher, Tarashkievich engaged in political activity. In 1917, he was one of the leaders of the Belarusan Socialist Union. He served as director of the Belarusan High School in Vilnia (1921-1922) and was the founder of the Belarusan School Society."
"In 1922, Tarashkievich was elected to the Polish parliament, where he courageously and eloquently spoke out in defense of the rights of Poland's Belarusans and other national minorities. In 1925-1927, he headed the Belarusan Peasant-and Workers' Union and joined the Communist Part of West Belarus. Twice arrested for his political activity, he was exchanged in 1933 for the Belarusan playwright Fratishak Alachnovich, who had gone over to Soviet Belarus, was arrested there, and had spent seven years in captivity. Not allowed to settle in Belarus, Tarashkievich worked in Moscow. There, he was seized by the secret police in 1937 on groundless charges and executed the following year."
"While sitting in a Polish prison, Tarashkievich translated Homer's Iliad and Adam Miskiewicz's narrative epic poem, Pan Tadeusz into Belarusan."
(Note: In the preceding excerpt, terms in bold refer to other entries in the Historical Dictionary of Belarus. The Historical Dictionary of Belarus is an important summary of the history of Belarus.)
"Mr. Gedroits points out that the idea to open a museum in the house where the author of the first Belarusian grammar lived between 1923 and 1931 emerged for the first time in the early 1990s. However, according to him, the building is still used as housing, and the local authorities have done nothing to change that."
Photo Credit: Belaruskaya Mova: Entziklapediya, edited by Mikhevich, A. Ya., et. al. (1994); page 558.
"In the opinion of Mr. Gedroits, the problem could be solved through joint efforts of the Culture Department of the Minsk Regional Executive Committee and the Molodechno District Executive Committee. The deputy minister of culture believes the house could become a branch of the Minsk Regional Lore, History, and Economy Museum."
"Apart from his linguistic research, Mr. Tarashkevich was also known as the leader of the Belarusian group in the Polish parliament after the Russian Civil War. He was arrested more than once by the Polish authorities for defending the rights of Belarusians in Poland and was sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison. In September 1933 an exchange of prisoners allowed him to come to live in Moscow. However, his grammar of the Belarusian language was replaced in 1933 with a Soviet government-approved version, which still remains in general use in Belarus."
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