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The uprising of the Georgians

Photo: Sondermeldung Texel - Opstand der Georgiers

The uprising of the Georgians

For five years, Texel had suffered little hinder from the Second World War. Though there was a strong German occupation, bunkers had been built everywhere and a large part of the able-bodied men had been deported to Assen, the true misery of war was not really felt much.DeopstandderGeorgiers_vuurtorenb

Georgian infantry battalion

However, when defeat became clear, the German army command was forced to deploy partial troops. This included a Georgian infantry battalion, who were sent to relieve a similar unit, from the Caucasus, in February 1945. These troops were made up of prisoners of war from the eastern front. The 822nd Georgian battalion consisted of 800 Georgians and 400 Germans.  

Soviet Union

While hundreds of thousands of Russians were dying of starvation and misery in German prisoner of war camps, the Georgians were treated with some kind of benevolence. Georgia was one of the last states to have been annexed by the Soviet Union. It was speculated that the Georgians would be easier to persuade to defect than the Russians.

Because a longer stay in captivity could also end adversely for the Georgians, the Georgians allowed themselves to be used as the enemy’s auxiliary troops. When it looked like the Germans were going to lose the war, the Georgians feared for their future upon their return to their country, but also if the allied forces were to invade.

Revolted

When the time seemed most right, the battalion of Georgians on Texel revolted, hoping that other Russian battalions along the coast would do the same. In the night of April 5 and 6, 1945 they killed the Germans that they had shared quarters with. An estimated four hundred Germans were killed in the socalled Russian War.

Under fire

However, the Georgians were unable to get a hold on two large batteries, which contained only German soldiers. These batteries, located high up in the dunes, and the heavy batteries of Vlieland and Den Helder already started blasting the Georgian battalion, and with them the population of Texel, on April 6. In Den Burg only, hundreds of grenades were fired.

Naturally, the Germans soon sent reinforcements to the island to stop the Georgian revolt. With the occupation of the batteries, these new troops took around five weeks to suppress the uprising of the Georgian battalion, which consisted of around 800 men

Damage to properties

During this fierce battle 565 Georgians, 120 Texel people and around 800 Germans lost their lives. Other sources, however, speak of more than 2,000 Germans killed. The damage to properties on Texel was enormous. Fighting was particularly furious on the Eierland polder. Dozens of farms went up in flames

Advised and assisted

The final stage of the battle was fought around the lighthouse, where several Georgians defended themselves to the limit. When all ties between the rebels were severed, the Germans tried to cleanse the island. Many Texel people advised and assisted the Georgians.The German did surrender themselves completely on the 5th of May, but the war on Texel continude untill May, the 20th. The Georgian uprising is often called "Europe's last battlefield'.

Help from Great Britain

During the Georgian uprising, the lifeboat 'Joan Hodshon' sailed in the dead of night with a full crew to Great Britain to get help. The war, however, had nearly ended and nothing came of any actual British help to the Georgians

 Georgian cemetery

DeopstandderGeorgiers_Russen_begraafplaatsOn the south side of the Hoge Berg, on the Georgian cemetery, a large amount of the killed and executed Georgians have been buried. This cemetery was named after the captain of the Georgian battalion, Loladze. The German victims were initially buried in a part of the general cemetery in Den Burg. In 1949, they found their last resting place on the military cemetery in IJsselsteijn, municipality of Venray, the Netherlands. The 228 surviving Georgians returned to their country.

Georgian cemetery

More information on the Georgian ruprising.

Calendar

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