Elizbar Chitashvili



It is April 2021 when in the Georgian village of Sabue, the relatives of Elizbar Chitashvili are finally located. 76 years after the end of the Second World War his family hear that he has been found: he lies buried at the Soviet War Cemetery in Leusden.

His relatives respond with disbelief and joy. Elizbar was listed as missing in action since the war. Only after seeing the photo of his tombstone dare they believe the wonderful news from the far off Netherlands.

Elizbar was unmarried and had no children when in 1941 as a 21-year old he left for the front to fight against Nazi-Germany. His mother waited for him all her life. She was convinced that he would come back. Before passing away she bought a grave for two persons so that her son could later join her.

But Elizbar never returned. He had been taken prisoner by the Germans. Elizbar fell gravely ill in captivity. He died of tuberculosis on 14 May 1945 in the German town of Herne, 25 years of age. His body was laid to rest at Margraten and in 1947 transferred to the Soviet War Cemetery in Leusden, where 865 Soviet war victims lie buried 

For decades those soldiers lay there more or less anonymously. Their identity not established, their families not traced. Until the Amersfoort researcher Remco Reiding of the Soviet War Cemetery Foundation latched on to it. By now he has identified over 250 soldiers and traced the relatives of over 220.

Elizbar was only identified in April 2021. He lay buried under a wrong name all that time. Then one day volunteers of the foundation started looking for his family. They found not only his next of kin, but also his photo: on the empty grave that his mother had meant for him. Because of that the soldier in grave # 252 at the Soviet War Cemetery was given not only a name but also a face.

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