Loladze, Sjalwa “Schalwa”.

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Loladze, Sjalwa.

Loladze, Sjalwa “Schalwa”, born 16-04-1916, in Telavi, Georgié, was a former Georgian Soviet soldier and prisoner of war. Loladze was later an officer of the 822th Georgian Infantry Battalion of the Georgian Legion   , part of the German Wehrmacht. During the last period of the  World War II he led the revolt of the Georgians against the German occupiers on the Dutch island of Texel.

Revolt on the Dutch island Texel  Loladze served in the Red Army  when the World War II erupted in 1939. In 1942 he was the commander of a Russian air squadron. His plane was shot down over Ukraine and Loladze was captured by the Germans. To prevent imprisonment in a German concentration camp , he decided to fight in the 822th Georgian Infantry Battalion (called Queen Tamara)  of the Georgian Legion, where he became second lieutenant. The battalion was stationed during the final months of the war on the Dutch island of Texel, which, like the rest of the country, was occupied by Nazi Germany.

On 9 April 1945, Loladze led a revolt against the Germans on the island, which was popularly called the Russians’ War,  and later became known as the Georgian uprising. He asked the local resistance leader W.H. Kelder to bring together 200 men who were prepared to fight with the 800 Georgians against the Germans. In the bunker Texla he gave a speech for the Texel soldiers. Shortly after midnight on the night of 5–6 April 1945, the Georgians   rose up and gained control of nearly the entire island. Approximately four hundred German soldiers were killed in the initial uprising, almost all while sleeping in the quarters they shared with Georgians, who used knives and bayonets. Others were shot and killed while standing guard or walking the roads of the island in groups or individually that night and the following day. Members of the Dutch resistance participated and assisted the Georgians, however, the rebellion hinged on an expected Allied landing—which did not occur.  The Georgians    further failed to secure the naval batteries on the southern and northern coasts of the island; the crews of these artillery installations were the only Germans still alive on the island.

“The rebellion against the hated oppressor has begun throughout Holland. (…) I very much appreciate that you have come to fight side by side.” There is no way back now. “Long live Holland. Soviet Union. The German commander of the 882nd battalion, Major Klaus Breitner,   stated long after the war that the uprising was “treachery, nothing else”; the captured mutineers were ordered to dig their own graves, remove their German uniforms, and be executed. Major Breitner survived the massacre.

Death and burial ground of Loladze, Sjalwa “Schalwa”.

“On 25-04-1945, Loladze was shot in the back by German soldiers. The owner of the villa where Loladze had previously hidden with nine of his men was forced to bury the body.  Loladze was later reburied together with his fallen comrades on a Texel cemetery that bears his name: the Georgian Honorary Cemetery Loladse.

The Georgians lie buried in a ceremonial cemetery at the Hogeberg near Oudeschild. The 228 Georgians who survived  by hiding from the German troops in coastal minefields, or who were concealed by Texel farmers, were turned over to Soviet authorities. After arrival at a collection camp in the Soviet Union, 26 Georgians were singled out and banished together with their families and nearly all others disappeared into Stalin’s Gulags. Those still alive in the mid-1950s were rehabilitated and allowed to return home. Until 1991, the ambassador of the Soviet Union to the Netherlands visited the graves of the Georgians on 4 May every year, and, at least during the latter visits, called the Georgians “Heroes of the Soviet Union”. The German dead were initially buried in a part of the general cemetery in Den Burg. In 1949 they found their final resting place at Ysselstein military cemetery,  Limburg province, the Netherlands. There were two Georgian survivors still alive in 2010:

Grisha Baindurashvili,    who is now 88 years old and lives in Kaspi, a village 40 km west of Tbilisi, and Eugeny Artemidze  , who was one of the mai organizers of the rebellion; he died at age 90 on June 22, 2010, on the same day that he went to war 69 years before.

Canadian troops landed unopposed on Texel on 20-05-1945, effectively liberating the island. Over a two-day period the Canadians disarmed 1,535 Germans. Soviet Smersh forces arrived on Texel and took charge of 228 Georgians still alive. A Canadian report prepared for the commander of the SMERSH contingent numbered 470 Georgian and 2,347 German casualties on Texel. In 1949, the German War Graves Commission disinterred on Texel 812 bodies (including the 400+ killed in their sleep by the Georgians in their shared quarters) for reburial at Ysselsteyn German war cemetery. The numbers given by the Texel district list “565 Georgians, 120 Texel islanders and approximately 800 Germans killed”; followed by “other sources … speak of more than 2,000 Germans killed.” The “other sources” comment in all probability refers to the Canadian report to SMERSH that lumped together under “casualties” the 1,535 disarmed Germans with their 812 dead


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