Address: 39 Holden Road, London N12 8 HS. E-mail: ihfo@absociety org uk Home

Auberon Herbert (1922-1974),
former Chairman of the Society

"... As one of the founders, and later as Chairman of the Anglo-Byelorussian Society, he organised a number of events and receptions which were of the utmost importance for the social and cultural advancement of the Byelorussians in Great Britain. On these occasions, in Parliament or elsewhere, the elite of British intellectual and political life were made aware of the problems confronting the Byelorussian people.  His speeches were always distinguished by an elegant turn of phrase and a lofty, well-informed approach to the cause of Byelorussian independence.

A traditional liberal, the ideal of restoring lost freedoms inspired him, and he saw in present-day Byelorussia the heir of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania .... When his friends offered him a plaque depicting the Pahonia or heraldic cavalier with the words Zyvie Belarus (Long live Byelorussia), he displayed it as a precious memento in his home.

"... he quickly recognised the importance for the Byelorussians of establishing their national and cultural identity in this country. This realisation made him keen to promote cultural activities, and under his Chairmanship the Anglo-Byelorussian Society was able to begin publishing The Journal of Byelorussian Studies and organise ... an annual course of six lectures on Byelorussian Literature, History and Arts...." (Bishop C. Sipovich)

"...He became a patron of the Byelorussian School for boys in Finchley... An honorary member of the Association of Byelorussians in Great Britain, he visited their centres in London, Bradford and Manchester... It was no secret that Auberon Herbert had particularly warm feelings towards the Byelorussian Community, whom he liked to describe as ìthe most English of all East Europeans..." (The Journal of Byelorussian Studies)

"... The Ukrainian and Byelorussian languages stand at approximately the same distance from Russian as does Dutch from German. Yet no one has been insane enough to argue that because the Dutch can, at a pinch, understand some shreds of German, there is a legitimate reason for not broadcasting in Dutch.... Today there is perhaps only one effective deed which we can for the nations in Russian captivity: to furnish them with undoctored news in their own languages..." (Auberon Herbert, Letter to the BBC Russian Service).