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Georgian uprising on Texel

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  1. #1

    Default Georgian uprising on Texel

    I've decided to start this new topic about the uprising on Texel, because it is a very interesting and a not well known history, that happened in the Netherlands at the end of WWII !

    First some basic info, from the "Wiki" :

    The Georgian Uprising of Texel (Dutch: Opstand der Georgiërs) (April 5, 1945 – May 20, 1945) was an insurrection by the 882nd Infantry Battalion Königin Tamara (Queen Tamar or Tamara) of the Georgian Legion of the German Army (Wehrmacht Heer) stationed on the German occupied Dutch island of Texel (pronounced tessel). The battalion consisted of 800 Georgians and 400 Germans, with mainly German officers. The event has been described as Europe's last battlefield.



    The heavily fortified island was a pivotal point in the German Atlantic Wall system of defense. The men of the rebellious battalion were soldiers from the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic captured on the Eastern front. They had been given a choice rarely offered by the Germans: the captured soldiers could choose either to remain in the POW camps, which would mean almost certain death, or to serve the Germans and be allowed a degree of freedom. The battalion was formed of men who chose the latter option.

    The battalion had been formed at Kruszyna near Radom in Poland in June 1943 and was used initially to fight partisans. On 24 August 1943 it was ordered to the West to relieve troops of the Indische Freiwilligen-Legion Regiment 950. The battalion arrived at Zandvoort in the Netherlands on 30 August. From September 1943 to early February 1945 it was stationed at Zandvoort as part of the "Unterabschnitt [Subsection] Zandvoort". The German military authorities initially intended to rename the unit IV. Battalion Jäger-Regiment 32 as part of the 16th Air Force Field Division (Luftwaffen-Feld-Divisionen), but this change was not effected. On 6 February 1945 it was posted to Subsection Texel and received the fake designation Grenadier Regiment 177 of the 219th Infantry Division in early March. Preparations then started in late March 1945 for a move of several companies of the 882nd battalion to the Dutch mainland to oppose Allied advances – triggering the rebellion.[1]

    On the night of April 5 – 6, 1945, at 0100 the Georgians rose up and nearly gained control of the entire island. Approximately 400 Germans lost their lives in the initial uprising, nearly all were killed in their sleep by the Georgians with knives and bayonets in the quarters they shared together, others while unsuspectingly standing guard or walking on the roads of the island that night or the following day, assisted by Dutch supporters of the Georgians.[2] The rebellion hinged on an expected Allied landing, which did not occur.

    Because the assumed allied help did not materialize, and because they had failed to secure the naval batteries on the southern and northern coasts of the island, the rebels soon faced a German counter-attack. The 163rd Marine-Schützenregiment[3] arrived from the Dutch mainland and, after two weeks of fighting, retook the island. The German commander of the 882nd battalion, Major Klaus Breitner, stated long after the war that the uprising was “treachery, nothing else;” the mutineers were ordered to dig their graves, remove their Wehrmacht uniforms and were executed.[4]

    During the Russian or Georgian war (as it is known on Texel) about 800 Germans, 565 Georgians, and 117 natives of Texel were killed. The destruction was enormous; dozens of farms went up in flames, with damage later estimated at 10 million guilders (US$3.77 million[5]). The bloodshed lasted beyond the German capitulation in the Netherlands and Denmark on May 5, 1945, and even beyond Germany's general surrender on May 8, 1945. Not until May 20, 1945 were newly arrived Canadian troops able to pacify "Europe’s last battlefield."

    Georgian Uprising of Texel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Georgian Uprising of Texel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The Hins World War II Collection - Cemetery Loladse Texel

    Georgian Legion (1941?1945) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Bestreg.
    kindzjal
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture georg tex.jpg  

  2. #2
    ?

    Default Re: Georgian uprising on Texel

    Thank you for starting this thread Kindzjal. Texel has often been called Europe's last battlefield, because hostilities only ended upon the arrival of the Canadians, on 20 May 1945. From about 800 Georgians, only 228 managed to survive the uprising. The fightings were really severe, and usually no prisoners were taken, on both sides. After the fightings ended, the Georgians were sent back to the east and almost all arrived in Tbilisi in 1946, because they were rehabilitated by Stalin.

    Unfortunately, this heroic but tragic episode is fairly unknown in Holland. Few people actually know what happened over there. Some of the elderly people remember stories about the so-called 'Russian war' ('Russenoorlog'), but the younger generations are poorly informed. In Georgia, on the contrary, the Georgian uprising is well known, and the survivors are regarded as real heroes. I managed to talk with the last Georgian survivor a couple of weeks ago, and the last time he returned to Holland was in 2005, together with the president and a huge delegation from Georgia, to commemorate the events in 1945.

    Before I will post some pictures from my last visits to the island, let's start with this photo from 1945, which shows Georgians, with their dyed WH uniforms void of insignia, together with local inhabitants of Texel.

    Cees
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture georgiers.jpg  
    Last edited by Cees; 07-26-2008 at 05:26 PM. Reason: spelling

  3. #3

    Default Re: Georgian uprising on Texel

    Hey Kindzjal


    I've read about the the uprising at Texel awhile back. Indeed not that many people know about what happend there. This is another incredible part of the story that is called WWII...


    Greetz

    Nick VR

  4. #4
    ?

    Default Re: Georgian uprising on Texel

    As an old Dutch resistance fighter on Texel has called it, they were all victims of the time. The Georgians knew what should happen in case they were sent back to the Soviet Union, and the only possibility was to start an uprising, hoping that the Allied troops should help them. The resistance fighther understood it from that point of view, but he also said it brought the war to Texel. A lot of civilians still blame the Georgians for that. For the Germans it was just a mutiny, and actually it was.

    After the battle, the island was scattered with burned-out buildings, war debris, and graves. Here is a Georgian grave, before the body was exhumed and transported to the Georgian cemetery.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture georgiers1.jpg  

  5. #5

    Default Re: Georgian uprising on Texel

    Another strange episode is the fact that some Georgians are buried at the German War Cementary in Ysselstijn
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Overloon 020.jpg   Overloon 024.jpg  

    Overloon 006.jpg  
    Last edited by kindzjal; 07-27-2008 at 11:23 PM.

  6. #6
    ?

    Default Re: Georgian uprising on Texel

    The last positions the Georgians defended were in and around the lighthouse, on the northern part of the island. Many Georgians knew that the battle was going to end, and small groups tried to pass the German lines and to hide in the dunes. The veteran I met in Georgia some weeks ago was one of them. Others decided to stay and to defend the lighthouse, which was soon attacked by specialized pioneer units of the HG division, equipped with flamethrowers.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture vuurtorencocksdorp.JPG   Texel026.jpg  


  7. #7
    ?

    Default Re: Georgian uprising on Texel

    Finally, about sixty Georgian defenders capitulated and were captured by the German troops. They were brought to a nearby farm, had to undress, dig their own graves, and were executed on the spot. I have found the exact place were it happened. It was quite hard to find, since there are no signs indicating this spot, but some old locals were able to tell me where I had to look. The mass grave was exhumed not long after the war, and the remains were transported to the Georgian cemetery.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Texel039.jpg  

  8. #8
    ?

    Default Re: Georgian uprising on Texel

    The Georgians are buried on Texel, but the Germans were transported to the cemetery in Ysselsteyn. This happened with all the Germans who found their grave in The Netherlands.

    Here is the Georgian cemetery on Texel. Loladze, the commander of the Georgians, has been buried in front of his men, while the other 475 graves are unmarked. It is a very impressive place to visit.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Texel053.jpg   Texel057.jpg  

    Texel061.jpg   Texel064.jpg  


  9. #9
    ?

    Default Re: Georgian uprising on Texel

    Today, few things on the island remind us of the fightings back then. Adjacent to the local airfield, a small museum is dedicated to the war and the Georgian uprising. Some very interesting items are on display there.

    There are no real traces of the battlefield left anymore, but when you do some reading, you can find some strategic points, like this dike which was the setting of severe close combat fighting.

    With all the best,

    Cees
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Texel007.jpg   Texel043.jpg  

    Texel044.jpg  

  10. #10
    Grutte Pier
    ?

    Thumbs up Re: Georgian uprising on Texel

    Very interesting subject indeed, I familiar with and interested in that battle and read books as Muiterij aan het Marsdiep and very recently the book Sondermeldung Texel, Opstand der Georgiërs, very interesting and makes you wonder what motivation the Georgiërs had taking up there arms against there former “brothers in arms”. Thanks for posting the nice and interesting pictures Cees.

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