Mugdashi Khizgilov was born in 1912 in Derbent, Dagestan (in the north-eastern Caucasus) to a family of Mountain Jews. He received a traditional Jewish primary education, then, in 1927, graduated from a seven-year Soviet school. From 1934 to 1936 Khizgilov served in the Red Army for the first time. After that he worked in Derbent in various managerial positions. In 1938-39, he worked as an editor of the newspaper The Red Star that was published in Derbent for the Mountain Jews of Dagestan in their language. In 1939, the Communist Party mobilized him as a political commissar in the Soviet-Finnish War.
With the beginning of the Soviet-German war, Khizgilov was at the front. In July 1941 he suffered contusions near Smolensk, western Russia, but without waiting for full recover, he soon returned to the front lines, this time as the political commissar of a battalion in an infantry division. During the Viazma operation (part of the operation for the defense of Moscow) Khizgilov was seriously wounded and captured by the Germans. Later he wrote the following in his short autobiography: "During the battle for the town of Viazma, I was wounded in the leg and in the abdominal cavity; in view of the circumstances, I was not picked up from the field by our troops, who were in the temporal retreat. On October 15, 1941, being in serious condition, I was captured by the enemy. After a 4-month stay in the hospital for prisoners [of war] in the town of Roslavl and in a camp in the city of Mogilev [in Belorussia], I escaped from captivity…. "
Khizgilov survived in captivity because, as a Mountain Jew, he was well acquainted with local Caucasian customs and, thus, succeeded in hiding his Jewish origin and in passing as a Muslim Caucasian. Khizgilov was seriously wounded, and his survival in the captivity was close to a miracle. As soon as he recovered from his wounds, he escaped from the POW camp. However, after two-months of wandering in the forests of Belorussia, he was captured again – this time by local collaborationist police – and sent to the POW camp in Mołodeczno. It was at this stage that the Jew Khizgilov decided to change his identity: Mugdashi Khizgilov, who spoke the Azeri language fluently and knew Muslim religious practices, identified himself before his captors as an Azeri Muslim named Migdar Abdullaliev, a captain in the Red Army.
In the Mołodeczno camp Khizgilov-Abdullaliev found an Azeri acquaintance – Senior Lieutenant Mirzakhan Magomedov. Magomedov was a member of the underground committee of the POW camp and included Khizgilov as a member. They committee planned an escape from the camp but, unexpectedly, circumstances changed. During a roll call in the camp, the Germans separated all the "Caucasians" from the ranks of the other Soviet POWs and informed them that they were going to be included in the Kaukasische-Mohammedanische Legion (Muslim Caucasus Legion) that was to fight on the Nazi side. Later, they divided the Muslim Caucasus Legion in two: the North Caucasian Legion and the Azerbaijani Legion. Magomedov and Khizgilov-Abdullaliev were to be included in the latter. The underground committee decided that the "Caucasians" had to agree: refusal would be tantamount to a death sentence. If they agreed to serve the Nazis and were armed by the latter, as legionnaires, they could turn their weapons against the Nazis themselves.
The "volunteers" were taken to a training camp in Silesia. Being perceived as having the ability to command, Khizgilov-Abdullaliev, was given the rank of Hauptmann (captain) and appointed commander of a company in the Legion. His nickname in the camp was "Black Hauptmann." At this new detainment, Khizgilov established an underground committee, which carried on anti-Nazi propaganda among the Azeris, and, in particular, spread authentic news from the fronts, thus demoralizing the members of the future Azeri legion and encouraging their desertion to the Soviet side. The Gestapo suspected Khizgilov-Abdullaliev of anti-Nazi activities, arrested him, and sent him to the Gestapo prison in the Dęblin Fortress. There although Khizgilov underwent interrogations that alternated painful torture with discussion urging him to be loyal to the Nazi cause, he remained adamant. He was sentenced to death, and put into a death cell to await execution. However, Khizgilov and his fellows in the prison cell were rescued via contacts that the clandestine camp committee had established with the Polish anti-Nazi underground that was active in the area. With the help of the Polish underground, Khizgilov and his three comrades escaped from the fortress and joined a small Soviet partisan unit that was moving toward the Soviet border. Khizgilov became its commander. In December 1943 Khizgilov's partisan unit attacked a Nazi camp near the Polish city of Rzeszów and added some of the prisoners it liberated to the unit. Then the enlarged unit crossed the Soviet border. Khizgilov was then able not only to reinforce the Soviet partisan movement with his unit, but also to pass on information to the Red Army command about the German defense fortifications in Poland.
In April 1944, the Soviet government appointed Khizgilov to take part in the transfer of a group of Polish underground leaders to the Soviet side. Khizgilov wrote a short letter (without a return address) to his relatives in Derbent and asked one of the Poles to mail it in Moscow. Thus, he informed his family that he was alive and hoped to return soon.
In the summer of 1944 Khizgilov – with his original identity – rejoined the Red Army. In August 1944, as a former partisan commander, he was recommended for the Order of the Patriotic War, 1st class. However, he had to waiting for this award for many years. Also in the August 1944, the Soviet political police – the NKGB and Smersh began an investigation of his case: after all, he had worn a German uniform, and there were people who remembered him as the "Black Hauptmann"! The investigation continued for sixteen months, with his case being closed only in November 1945. Fortunately Khizgilov escaped being imprisoned in the Gulag, but his full rehabilitation came only in 1958.
After the war, Khizgilov was the director of a Derbent carpet factory, which he had previously been involved in building. He died in 1989. His memoirs "The Black Captain: Legionnaire, Partisan, Patriot" were published (in Russian) in the North Caucasus in 1994.