Lesniak, Omelian

Lesniak, Omelian [Lesnjak, Omeljan], b 24 April 1882 in Horodenka, Galicia, d near the end of 1953 in Vienna. (Photo: Omelian Lesniak.) Senior army officer. As an officer of the Austrian army, in 1916 he commanded the First Battalion of the Legion of Ukrainian Sich Riflemen and was captured by the Russians. After returning to Galicia in 1919, he enlisted in the Ukrainian Galician Army (UHA) and took command of the Zolochiv Military District. In July 1919 he was appointed commander of the Third (Berezhany) Brigade of the Ukrainian Galician Army. Then, as a major, he served in the Supreme Headquarters of the UHA. When the UHA was incorporated into the Red Army, Lesniak became one of the commanders of the Second Brigade of the Red Ukrainian Galician Army which deserted the Red Army in 1920. In the interwar period he lived in Prešov, Czechoslovakia, and after the Second World War in Vienna, where in 1946 he was arrested by the MVD. He was released from Soviet imprisonment in 1953, and returned to Vienna.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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