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For five years, the Second World War caused little disruption to daily life on Texel. Despite a strong presence of German occupying forces, bunkers having been built all over the island and hundreds of Texel men having been deported to Assen, life on Texel was relatively quiet. Until April 1945, the uprising by the Georgian soldiers who were fighting on the German side.
As the German defeat became apparent, the army command was forced to put troops into action formed of prisoners of war from the Eastern Front. The 822nd Georgian infantry battalion, which arrived on Texel on 6 February 1945, was among these troops. It consisted of 800 Georgians and 400 Germans.
To escape the terrible conditions of their captivity, many Georgians saw themselves more or less forced to serve in the German army. Others opted to do so voluntarily, in the hope of ousting communism in their home country. When it looked like the Germans were going to lose the war, many Georgians feared for their lives: the Soviets considered all soldiers, voluntary or otherwise, as traitors to their country.
They were due to leave on 6 April to fight the allied forces in the East Netherlands. The only chance the Georgians had to rehabilitate themselves for their service in the German army was an uprising. On 6 April at 01:00, the uprising kicked off, led by Georgian commander Shalva Loladze. By early morning, 450 Germans had already been killed, most in their sleep. At first, the uprising went smoothly.
However, the Georgians failed to get a hold on the North and South batteries. The Germans were quick to send reinforcements to the island to quash the Georgian uprising. It took five weeks of heavy fighting before the Germans were able to subdue the Georgians.
The battle claimed the lives of 565 Georgians, 120 Texel people and about 800 Germans. Texel properties were left heavily damaged. Although Germany had already surrendered unconditionally on 5 May, the war on Texel would continue until 20 May. Consequently, the Georgian Uprising is also referred to as ‘Europe’s last battlefield’.
A large number of the fallen and executed Georgians are buried at the Georgian cemetery Loladze on Hoge Berg. The 228 Georgians who survived returned to their home country.
Want to learn more about this part of Texel history? Aviation and warmuseum Texel has an extensive exhibition on this subject.