The story of Texel uprising as told by its only surviving participant
15 May, 2015
The story of Texel uprising as told by its only surviving participant
“That night we killed 500 German soldiers... We had no choice.”

The flow of events of WWII saw 752 Georgians end up in the Netherlands, on the island of Texel, where they lived for almost a year. Chronologically, the culmination of their stay, dubbed the Texel Uprising, was the final battle of the war to take place in Europe.

In 1945, the 822nd battalion of Wehrmacht’s Georgian Legion was transferred by the German command from Poland to the Dutch island
of Texel. After the battalion’s arrival, the forces present at the island comprised approximately 800 Georgian troops, most of them ex-Soviet POW’s, and 400 German ones, the majority of them officers.
Lali Papaskiri, a reporter for Georgian Journal and Gza magazines, has visited Grisha Baindurashvili, the only surviving participant and eyewitness of the events that transpired on Texel in 1945, and asked him to relive them for our readers:
– After spending 3 years in various POW camps in Europe, me and my fellow Georgians were transferred to the small town of Zandvoort, Netherlands,geotv.ge about ten kilometers away from the city of Haarlem, and sent to build point defenses and dig canals. One day, there was an accident at a weapons warehouse in Zandvoort and we were blamed for it.
This has resulted in us getting transferred to the island of Texel, for the sake of keeping us isolated. Our only contact with the outside world was through a ferry.
Prior to our arrival, Germans stationed there have spread a rumor of us being some sort of gang of cannibals, which has resulted in local population avoiding us like wildfire. One of Georgian Legion’s battalions was stationed at Texel as well; in total, there were 752 Georgians present on the island. The conditions were good, though; we had food and beds. Gradually we grew friendly with the locals. We became acquainted with a Dutch woman named Cornelia Boon, whose husband has been to Georgia twice, and she was quite fond of Georgians in general.
By that time, Germany was weakening and resorting to arming POWs in order to compensate. First only a few of us were armed and trained, then a few more… Most of us remained prisoners, though. Georgian Legion’s battalion stationed at the island was under the command of Shalva Loladze, who had full right of passage throughout the entirety of the Netherlands. On April 5, Loladze warned those of us he trusted that a rebellion was planned the next day and that at midnight, three flares would be fired from the village of Dem Burg to signal the beginning. By that time, almost all of us were armed.
geotv.geAt midnight, we saw three flare rockets rise above the village. Everyone already had tasks allocated to them, and we knew that we had to be quiet and use bayonets and knives in order not to raise the alarm. I saw many deaths over these few years, but what happened next was grave indeed – we killed about 500 German soldiers. Those who went to kill the head of the island’s garrison didn’t find him at his post – he was gone to see a lover and thus survived, fleeing to Germany soon afterwards. Another survivor was a Polish Wehrmacht trooper, who has been kind to us; we decided to spare him because he would reply to calls that came from German command and tell them everything was fine. I myself boarded up a building with 16 Germans in it and set it on fire. Nobody survived...
However, eventually an alarm was raised and the entire garrison was put on alert. They didn’t have any aircraft to speak of, so three ships were sent from the mainland to quell the uprising, but they were sunk by Soviet planes. Soon, however, several regiments were re-deployed from the mainland to Texel to quell the uprising. Before the regiments’ arrival, we managed to break into several weapons warehouses and secure some munitions. The combat that followed was fierce, but the soldiers still managed to retake the island. That woman, Cornelia Boon, helped us by warning us about upcoming German raids in advance. She also managed to hide and save many Georgian soldiers.
The worker hundred, part of which I was, took position on a hill and held it for several days, but we were outnumbered twenty to one. Every night there were raids aimed at flushing us out, with sniffer dogs used to find out positions. We tried to hide in foxholes, but to no avail. Out of 115 Georgians that were on that hill, only eight survived.
Those of us who managed to evade the initial onslaught were hounded at every step, and buildings were torched at the slightest suspicion of anyone hiding inside. One night, I and two other Georgians were out on a scouting run, to determine if we could get through to our battalion. Suddenly, we heard dogs barking; this meant that a raid was underway. We had no choice but to burrow inside a nearby haystack. The dogs quickly led the Germans to us and were running around the haystack, barking. One of the soldiers brought a ladder and climbed on top of the haystack. If I could draw, I’d draw his face, which I remember perfectly even after 70 years. He was a young man, with black hair. I had a gun trained on him, while his own was in a sling. We spent several seconds looking straight at each other and then he suddenly turned and left, climbing back down. I heard him say “There are no Russian partisans here!” He said this louder than was necessary, probably so that we could hear as well. I breathed with relief, but kept wondering if this was all just a trick so that they could set the haystack on fire and smoke us out, but nothing of the sort happened.
I spent a lot of time looking for the man who granted me life, but to no avail. I haven’t lost hope of finding him yet, no matter how naïve this sounds. I even talked to Dutch journalists a few times, asking them to get the word out.
Anyway, back to my story. The remaining few of us managed to hole up in canals and whatever else and survive till the war was over. We returned to our homeland only a year later, after spending time in one prisoner camp after another. Then we heard that KGB was looking for us, but they never found us among the masses of prisoners. Soon afterwards we were taken to a meeting with two Georgian colonels, Kurashvili and Khuberaishvili, who brought us our renewed ID papers.

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