Boris Kit, Rocket Scientist and Belarusian, Turns 100 Today
Published: 06 April 2010
The German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung began its article on Boris Kit's 100th anniversary with a scene from revolutionary Petrograd:
In February 1917, a small boy is running with his mother on the streets of wintry St. Petersburg. The mother pulls him to a back street to one of the magnificent avenues of the city of the tsars. There are many people running around. They wave red flags, they sing and shout. The mother says, "Look, Boris!" The boy shifts from one foot to the other - "I want to go home, mama, I'm cold!Boris Kit was born on 6 April 1910 in St Petersburg (then Petrograd).
As a young kid he witnessed the Russian revolution. In 1933, he got his Master's degree from Vilnius (then Vilnia) University and began to teach mathematics at the Belarusian Gymnasium. In 1939 he became its director.
After Stalin incorporated Vilnia into Lithuania, Kit moved to Western Belarus where he worked on establishing Belarusian schools. He was briefly imprisoned by the Nazis and then had to flee Belarus at the end of the World War II. Boris Kit has made a distinguished career as a rocket scientist and a professor at the University of Maryland in the United States.
Michael Scanlan, Charge d’Affaires in Belarus, recently named Boris Kit and Tadeusz Kosciuszko as two Belarusians who have made profound contributions to the development of America.
Boris Kit moved back to Europe from the United States in 1970s. "I am happy here and I am a European in my heart" says Boris Kit in his Frankfurt home. In his interview with Radio Liberty Boris Kit explained that remaining intellectually active and helping people helped him live so long. Here is a short interview with Boris Kit in Belarusian.
Read Ein Jahrhundertleben (in German) in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.