MINSK – Anton Furs, a veteran Belarusian independence activist and member of the Union of Belarusian Patriots, an underground Belarusian youth organization after WWII, is dead at the age of 94.
Furs’s son, Yuras Furs, wrote on Facebook early on October 20 that her father died at his home in the northern town of Pastavy. He did not disclose the cause of death.
While studying in the mid-1940s to become a teacher, Furs and his friends started an underground youth organization with the aim of promoting Belarusian language and culture.
In February 1947, Furs was arrested and accused of anti-Soviet activities. He was sentenced to death for his crimes, but the sentence was later reduced to 25 years in prison.
He served his prison term in Turin, a city in the Urals of Russia, and in Karlag, a notorious Soviet prison system near the city of Qaraghandy in central Kazakhstan.
In 1955, Furs took part in a notorious prison riot that spread to several prisons in Karlag. He spent nine years in the brutal Soviet prison system before being granted early release.
After that, Furs married Alesya Umpirovich, a Belarusian activist who also served prison time for her beliefs.
Until 1982, the couple lived in Kazakhstan. They then moved to Belarus, where in 1992 Furs and other members of the youth organization were exonerated by a state commission which ruled that the Union of Belarusian Patriots had committed no crime.
His wife, whom he met through the youth organization, was exonerated in 1993. She died in August 2017 at the age of 92.