Germans and Georgians are somehow connected with their past history. The first German settlers tried to escape poverty, forced recruitment in order to serve Napoleon and to live their strict Christian faith (non-Lutheran Protestant sects) in freedom, they tried to move Palestine. However, most did not make it so far.
The history of the Germans in Georgia began on March 12, 1734, with the arrival of the first Protestant refugees from Salzburg. Word was soon spread that free passage to Georgia, fifty acres of land in freehold, and a year’s provisions were available to all worthy Salzburgers who wished to emigrate to Georgia.
In 1817, some 6,000 persons from Schwaikheim, Waiblingen, Stuttgart, Esslingen and Reutlingen, all Swabians, had left Germany (in those days, there was no Germany. In fact, they had left the kingdom of Württemberg). Only half of them arrived alive in Georgia where the Russian Tsar had granted them land to make them stay.
In Tbilisi they founded the colony near Kukia- Neutiflis, Alexandrodof and in Sartichala. Neutiflis was settled by craftsmen and they were only given homesteads. The Germans of Neutiflis were opening various ateliers and workshops. Unlike the Germans of Alexanderdorf, Germans were given a land to work on. Almost 100 years later approximately 12,000 Swabian-German settlers were living in Georgia. They built small houses with beautiful gardens with roses and grapes. They built pebbled streets. As for political life the Georgian Germans also had a National Council of Germans with the building located at modern 108 Davit Aghmashenebeli Street. The council protected Germans’ interests. Each colony had an elected commissioner that the population obeyed. You can still see in Tbilisi houses created by German-Georgian architects and compare them with German’s in Germany.
Despite the support of the emperor the colonists ended up in hard social conditions – they found it difficult to adapt to local climate, they fought epidemic, and infertility. After the sovietization of Georgia in 1920–1921, the Bolsheviks did not like to see the German influence. Consequently, the Soviet closed down German schools and changed German-sounding names of virtually all the colonies. Durinf WW II most of Georgia’s German families, in total 19,186 people, were deported by the Soviet authorities from the republic. The only ones not subject to deportation were German women who were married to non-Germans. In addition, German churches and cemeteries were destroyed.
The cultural heritage of Germans is very important both for Georgians and Germans. Therefore, it should not only be studied more thoroughly, but, most importantly, preserved, protected, including its authenticity and further demolition avoided, as the demolition may vanish it without a trace.