In the final days of World War II in Europe, Georgians serving in the Wehrmacht on Texel island off the Dutch coast revolted. In just a few hours, they massacred some 400 German officers using knives and bayonets to avoid raising the alarm. An enraged Hitler learned about the mutiny and ordered the Germans to fight back, showing no mercy to either the Georgians or the Dutch civilians who hid them. It was not until 20 May, 12 days after the war had ended, that Canadian forces landed on the island and finally put an end to the slaughter. What was the larger context for the Texel Uprising? How did these Georgians end up in the Netherlands in the first place? How is this event remembered? Here’s Eric Lee with this little-known story from the last days of WWII.
Eric Lee is a journalist, historian, and trade union and political activist in the US and UK. He’s the author of several books including Saigon to Jerusalem: Conversations with Israel’s Vietnam Veterans, Operation Basalt: The British Raid on Sark and Hitler’s Commando Order, and The Experiment: Georgia’s Forgotten Revolution, 1918-1921. His most recent book is Night of the Bayonets: The Texel Uprising and Hitler’s Revenge – April-May 1945 published by Greenhill Books.
Atmosphere, “Trying to Find a Balance,” Seven’s Travels, 2003.