Visiting the cemetery of the Georgians on Texel. The Dutch North Sea island, a holiday paradise today, played an important part during WW II as a bulwark in the so called Atlantic Wall against the allies. Part of its garrison from January 1945 was the 822nd Georgian Infantry Battalion, which revolted against the Germans in the night of April 5th. Being successful initially, the uprise was quickly quashed with brutal force. Of the about 800 Georgian soldiers only 228 survived. However, combat operations took until May 20th, i.e. even until after the German surrender in the Netherlands on May 5th, and thus longer than in any other place within Europe.
When the Dutch film maker Dick van Reeuwijk researched for a documentary and talked to contemporary witnesses in 1978/79, the former German commander of Texel, Klaus Breitner, still demanded the execution of the Georgian “deserters”. The Georgian veterans and the population of Texel kept the recollection of their mutual fateful connection, they re-established contacts and visited each other despite of restrictions caused by the cold war. The entire dramatic, touching story, which is hardly known in Germany, can be read in van Reeuwijks book ‘Sondermeldung Texel’. Aufstand der Georgier, extended and revised edition by Theo Timmer and Klaus Brass, Texel 1996 (First edition: ‘Sondermeldung Texel’. Opstand der Georgiers, Texel 1981; no English edition available).