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Georgian Uprising of Texel
The Georgian Uprising of Texel (4 April 1945 – 20 May 1945) was an insurrection (a rebellion, or mutiny, when soldiers disobey their orders) by Soviet Georgian soldiers on the island of Texel. The uprising was against the Germans who had taken over the Dutch island during the Second World War. The event is sometimes described as Europe's last battlefield.
The island was very important in the German Atlantic Wall – the line of defences along the Atlantic coast. It was strong and had many defences. The Georgians were soldiers from the Soviet Republic of Georgia who had been captured (taken prisoner) on the Eastern front. They were now fighting for the Germans so that they did not have to stay in camps for prisoners. Their job was to help the German troops.
On the night of 4 April–5 April 1945 they thought that the Allies would land soon. They took over the island and killed 400 German soldiers. Some parts of the island stayed under German control and the Georgian soldiers could not capture them. More Germans were able to come to the island to help defeat the Georgians. After a few weeks of very tough fighting the Germans took control of the island again.
Unfortunately the British and Canadians, who were warned of the events on Texel by escapees who fled by boat to England, did not believe them, and did not take any action in order to stop the fighting.
On Texel this is called the Russian war. Approximately 800 Germans, 500 Georgians, and 120 Tesselans (people from the island) were killed. Lots of farms were burned. Even after the Germans surrendered (gave up) in the Netherlands and Denmark on 5 May 1945, and after the full German surrender on 8 May, the fighting continued. Canadian soldiers stopped the fighting on 20 May.
The Georgian survivors did not have a happy ending. They were sent back to the Soviet Union. Stalin said that because the soldiers had been captured by the Germans, they had not fought until they died, so they were traitors. Most of the two million Soviet prisoners who were sent back to the Soviet Union by the Allied forces after the end of the war were executed (killed) when they got there.
A museum at the airport on the island tells the story of this event.