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Night of the Bayonets:
The Texel Uprising and Hitler's Revenge - April-May 1945

by Eric Lee
Published by Greenhill Books

Reviews of the book | Interviews with the author | Articles by the author | Visiting Texel? | More about the rebellion | Other books by Eric Lee

Night of the Bayonets tells the story of the uprising of the 822nd Battalion of the Georgian Legion, part of the German Wehrmacht, in the final days of the Second World War.

The book is now available in English, Georgian, Dutch, and Czech. An Esperanto edition will come out later this year. It is also available as an audio book in English from Tantor.


  1. “Lee does offer something that is missing in other books about Texel. He has focused on the Georgians in particular and treats them much more extensively than is usual.” – Dr. H. (Henk) de Jong, Militaire Spectator
  2. “A book that demands readers. … Georgian POWs are given a choice – fight in the German army or remain in a POW camp. Death awaits you there – famine, disease or a bullet. Some Georgians put on the uniform of their enemy, the Wehrmacht. … These men rise up in an act of amazing physical and emotional courage. Their chances for survival are slim. … This is a book for students of the emotional horrors of war. … an important book. … Read it and learn.” – Michael Chai, Vietnam veteran
  3. “The title reads like a thriller, and at times so does the book, but this is nonetheless a serious and well-researched piece of history.” Read the full review by Edward James on the website of the Historical Novel Society.
  4. “In Night of the Bayonets, Eric Lee offers a tightly-written, fast paced and engaging narrative about this remarkable and little-known aspect of the war … offers a compelling explication of the Texel uprising for a wide audience, and a thoughtful discussion of the questions that it continues to pose these many decades after the events took place.” – Timothy Blauvelt, The Russian Review, January 2021
  5. “This new book by historian and journalist Eric Lee should be on your WWII reading list not only for focusing on Eastern European soldiers in German service. It is above all a surprising and well-written account of the last fighting to take place in 20thcentury Northwest Europe.” – Lars Gyllenhaal
  6. “Night of the Bayonets is an elegantly written and important work of history, In providing a non-Anglo-American perspective on the Second World War in Europe, it may usefully punctures some of the contemporary myths of the Second World War that still pervade attitudes in the UK. For this, and for much else, it deserves a wide readership.” – Aidan McQuade, former director of Anti-Slavery International, the oldest international human rights organisation in the world, and author of The Undiscovered Country
  7. “This is the first comprehensive look in English about this little known incident. The complex relationships between the Germans, Georgians and local Dutch inhabitants – including those associated with the Communist party, makes for fascinating reading. The section which relates to the post war commemoration, and how this has changed over time adds considerably to our understanding of the mutiny, and how it has been portrayed, in the Netherlands and notably in Georgia itself. ” Recollections of WWII: Memoirs and Books Which Should Be On Your Bookshelf
  8. “Like his earlier book Operation Basalt, historian Eric Lee has managed to take a little-known and – in the grand scheme of the Second World War – small-scale incident and turn it in to a fascinating story by putting the events into a wider context with a variety of points of view. . . . History may be in the past but it is never dead as this book illustrates all too well.” Roger Darlington, author of Night Hawk: Flight Lieutenant Karl Kuttelwascher DFC and Bar, the Raf’s Greatest Night Intruder Ace
  9. “Lee correctly directs the reader’s attention to the contested memories that resulted from this event.” Review on
  10. “In Night of the Bayonets, historian and journalist Eric Lee tries to untangle the facts from the fiction. His book also asks some difficult questions about national and political loyalties versus morality and the human imperative for survival. Caught between starvation, disease, or a bullet in the neck, would you voluntarily take up arms for your enemy? Would you knowingly endanger civilians, many of them children, to save your own skin?” – The War Years
  11. “I think it would make a riveting film.” – Ben Davidson
  12. “Night of the Bayonets is one of those dramatic local events that casts a light on larger themes, thus it is a story deserving of a book. Eric Lee has therefore performed a valuable service writing what might be the definitive account. ” – Robert Neil Smith on
  13. “This is a wonderful and provocative book.” – Steve Davis on
  14. “Lee places the mutiny within the context of what transpired before and after the battle on Texel. Indeed, that context, and the larger issues he raises—were the Georgians justified, for example, in rising at such a late date, when it cost so many innocent Dutch lives?—make this book all the more valuable.” – Stone & Stone Second World War Books
  15. Fascinating history of the last battle of the 2nd World War” – David Cockroft on
  16. “It is a fantastic read and a story I knew nothing about. Thank you Eric and Pen and Sword for bringing this to everyone’s attention. Lockdown saviours.” – Stephen Johnson on Twitter
  17. Highly recommended. This, and Lee’s other books, are like funnels that work in reverse; a seemingly small local story, of interest on its own perhaps, expands and connections are made that are almost counterintuitive. An obscure battle in a WW2 backwater has things to say about the Dutch Communist Party, Soviet cinematic takes on the Great Patriotic War, and the history of Georgia. Highly readable as well.” – D.B. on
  18. “The tale is beautifully composed and transmitted. If you’re a student of history and politics, but may not have heard about the final battle of the war, this volume is highly recommended.” – Roy Nitzberg on
  19. “In thirteen fascinating and well-documented chapters, Eric Lee chronologically describes those bloody spring days on Texel.” – [in Dutch]
  20. “I thought that the 7+ hours I spent reading this history book were interesting. This was another book that I had never come across before. It does a very good job of giving a deep background. It also offered a good follow up as to what happened in the years following WWII. I am glad that I finished reading this book yesterday. I am fortunate to be able to post this review on the 75th Dutch National Remembrance Day. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book a 4 out of 5.” – John Purvis on
  21. Fascinating and engaging read. Highly recommend!” – Lauren Tobias on
  22. “Great book, a new piece of history for me. Was lucky enough to get this on a discount, but in all honesty would have paid more for it. Manages to not only explore and explain a part of World War II which I didn’t know, and seems less covered, but does so in a fascinating and gripping way which made me forget at times I was reading a history book, which sometimes I find can be pretty dry. Would totally recommend.” – Will on
  23. Brilliant! A fabulous story from WW2!.” – JP Wright on
  24. “Really interesting and moving story of WW2 conflict that I had never heard of. Highly recommended.” – Frank J on
  25. “A great book illustrated with good photos. Eric Lee tells the story of a gruesome, hitherto unknown rebellion in the last days of the war. This is an important, fascinating story.” – Mike K. Hallam on
  26. “A spellbinding tale of those who paid the ultimate price for freedom.” – Damien Lewis, author of SAS Shadow Raiders: The Ultra-Secret Mission that Changed the Course of WWII.
  27. A fascinating read. This is a compelling story of the absurdity, the horror, the fragile loyalties and the fabrications of war. The author has managed to sift through outright lies, state propaganda, fuzzy memories, revisionist narratives and misguided interpretations to offer up a clear, gripping, coherent perspective of the last battle of the war. It’s a reasonably short, easy read that’s a concentration of insight and knowledge.” morwenna on
  28. “Overall a fascinating piece of history. Recommended.” Howard Fuller
  29. “Een meer dan voortreffelijk boek, omdat het niet alleen de opstand goed beschrijft, maar ook de voorgeschiedenis en stand van zaken na de oorlog goed in het geheel betrekt. Zeer goed!” –
  30. “A fascinating account of the little-known final battle of World War II in Europe.” – The Bookseller

Interviews with Eric Lee about the book

Samantha Lomb interviews Eric Lee for the New Books Network. 2 June 2020

Paul Woodadge interviews Eric Lee for WW2TV. 15 October 2020

Professor Buzzkill show, 15 November 2020

Angus Wallace interviews Eric Lee for WW2 Podcast, 1 December 2020

Sean’s Russian Blog interviews Eric Lee, 29 January 2021

Eric Lee speaks to students at Lone Star College, 1 March 2021


These are articles about the Georgian uprising on Texel written by Eric Lee:

Nazi Germany’s forgotten last battle [Military History Matters] February-March 2021 (English)

How Canadians Ended the Final Battle of WWII in Europe [Hamilton Spectator] 22 May 2020 (English)

The Battle of Texel – Inside the Bloody German Army Mutiny That Continued On After VE-Day [Military History Now] 17 May 2020 (English)

BBC History June 2020 (English)

Die rebellion der Georgier [Jungle World] 19 September 2019 (Deutsch).

Surpriza malkovro en Texel [] 1 July 2019 (Esperanto)

Visiting Texel?

More about the Georgian uprising on Texel

Other books by Eric Lee

Britain's Plot to Kill Hitler: The True Story of Operation Foxley and SOE Greenhill Books, 2022

The Experiment: Georgia's Forgotten Revolution, 1918-1921 Zed Books, 2018

Operation Basalt: The British Raid on Sark and Hitler's Commando Order The History Press, 2016