Einsatzkommando Finnland and VALPO?

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Eisenfaust
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Einsatzkommando Finnland and VALPO?

Postby Eisenfaust » 18 Sep 2008 20:51

Hello,

Iltalehti reports that Einsatzkommando Finnland was founded in Finland in order to eliminate ideologically and racially inferior individuals. VALPO (VALtiollinen POliisi) had connections with Einsatzkommando Finnland. This claim is made by Oula Silvennoinen who's thesis is evaluated tomorrow.

In Finnish: http://www.iltalehti.fi/uutiset/200809188290202_uu.shtml

=E=

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mty
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Re: Einsatzkommando Finnland and VALPO?

Postby mty » 18 Sep 2008 23:05

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is something similar than the Huhtiniemi case couple of years ago. There seems to be a real need to uncover a "mass murder mystery" within the context of the Finnish war history, preferably from the Continuation war. Without any further information this sounds quite unbelieveable. First of all, the history of the State Police (Valpo) which was known within some circles as the "White Valpo" (Valkoinen Valpo) during the pre-1945 era, is well known and researched. Most of the material is freely available to everyone interested in the National Archives.

The scholar claims that it was not possible to clarify the affair post-war. This is where it gets very similar to the common Huhtiniemi tale of secret executions. In the political climate following the Continuation war, it seems very unreliable that such a massive police operation, specifically targeted on certain political and/or racial groupings could have passed unnoticed. It seems even more unreliable in a light that more than 60 have passed and this scholar, Oula Silvennoinen claims to be the first one to uncover such events.

Nevertheless, it would be interesting to see his sources. It must be remembered that his thesis has not yet passed the verification board. I am not trying to say that he might not have valid points but perhaps he is drawing wrong or too extreme conclusions from partial sources. Hard to say anything without seeing what is the material he uses to back up his sayings.

- Mikko

==

Edit: Here is a link to the summary of the thesis, available in both Finnish and English: https://oa.doria.fi/handle/10024/41922

Victor Chmara
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Re: Einsatzkommando Finnland and VALPO?

Postby Victor Chmara » 19 Sep 2008 00:12

I started a thread on this here: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=143946

While this claim is astonishing, I do not think it's that implausible. It's well known that Finland often treated Soviet POWs and civilians very poorly, and thousands of them died of hunger, diseases and executions. Moreover, Valpo chief Arno Anthoni was known for his pro-Nazi views. Of course it's strange that no one's heard of "Einsatzkommando Finnland" before Silvennoinen. Based on the abstract of his dissertation, he seems to be certain that massacres took place, which would imply that he has more to show than just some circumstantial evidence. Let's wait and see.

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Re: Einsatzkommando Finnland and VALPO?

Postby Tero » 19 Sep 2008 06:57

By Victor Chmara

While this claim is astonishing, I do not think it's that implausible.


Given the fact the main body alledged of mass executions was German I find it quite astonishing corraborating evidence has eluded for 60-odd years Western researchers going through German archives.

What springs to mind is the plethora of known "Finnish" military units the Germans planned raising after their instigated coup had taken over Finland once Finland had jumped ship.

It's well known that Finland often treated Soviet POWs and civilians very poorly, and thousands of them died of hunger, diseases and executions.


It is equally well known the mass deaths stopped by late 1943.

Moreover, Valpo chief Arno Anthoni was known for his pro-Nazi views. Of course it's strange that no one's heard of "Einsatzkommando Finnland" before Silvennoinen. Based on the abstract of his dissertation, he seems to be certain that massacres took place, which would imply that he has more to show than just some circumstantial evidence.


It will be interesting to learn who the Einsatzkommando executed.? Salla is within Finnish borders in the sparsely populated part of the country with poor communications network. I doubt there were any Finns in that alledged group and other nationalities would have had to have been transported there by the Germans (apart of the POW's they captured). Anybody have data on the number of forced labour persons the Germans transported to Finland ?

Let's wait and see.


Gentlemen. Gather ye mud. ;)

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mty
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Re: Einsatzkommando Finnland and VALPO?

Postby mty » 19 Sep 2008 08:57

IIRC "Einsatzkommando" as a designation came to use for the first time during the Anschluss in 1938. In practice it means a unit formed and commanded under RSHA, consisting of Sipo (Gestapo & Kripo) and SD personnel, usually operating in the rear echelons of an army operations area.

My knowlegde of arrangements regarding the German operations theatre in North Finland is very limited. Was there some kind of already-known agreement which - even on paper - gave Germans authority to conduct security police operations in "their" area? I hope mr. Jokisipilä comes up with a blog essay on this topic :).

If that could have been possible, the suggested revelation only shows that the Finnish state police (Valpo) was aware of these arrangements and perhaps co-operated to some extent. But the news coverage, especially the headlines immediately try to turn it the way that Valpo personnel themselves vere physically involved.

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Re: Einsatzkommando Finnland and VALPO?

Postby Lotvonen » 01 Oct 2008 12:31

The largest national newspaper Helsingin Sanomat published a two-page story about the co-operation of Finnish and German "security" organizations in Northern Finland during the Continuation war. It is basing on a dissertation (Oula Silvennoinen, Salaiset aseveljet (Secret brothers-in-arms], published recently). The findings are according to the article:
- The Germans had two prisoner camps in their area (Stalag 309 in Salla, at the time Finnish territory, Stalag 322 in Elvenes, Norway). The inmates, with the exception of those who were useful for military intelligence, were to be executed.
- There were maybe 8000 to 9000 POWs held by Germans in N. Finland
- Valpo sent a 12 man command of interpreters and interrogators to co-operate with the local Einsatskommando in 1941. The Germans needed interpreters and interrogators - who had the authority to judge the interrogated.
- The dirty work was done by the MPs of Einsatzkommando Finland. Some Valpo men assisted in single executions.
- Valpo was led by men who had extreme right-wing opinions, and were favourable to Nazism (Arno Anthoni and his deputy Bruno Aaltonen). After Stalingrad Finnish Government replaced the German symphatizers in the command of Valpo.
- Finnish high command handed over 520 POW "Russian Communists" to Einsatzkommando Finland during the war. It is unlikely that any of them survived
-This co-operation was known to only a small number of civil servants and politicians. Very little was put on paper, and most of it was destroyed in September 1944.

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patrik.possi
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Re: Einsatzkommando Finnland and VALPO?

Postby patrik.possi » 19 Jan 2009 20:56

Since this news was broadcasted, have there been any news regarding this subject?

My personal view is that the information of this is very thin, to that point that its really hard to draw any conclution on this subject or confirm that EsK Finnland ever existed.

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Re: Einsatzkommando Finnland and VALPO?

Postby Mikko H. » 19 Jan 2009 21:03

Reding the book leaves no doubt that the unit existed.

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Re: Einsatzkommando Finnland and VALPO?

Postby JariL » 20 Jan 2009 13:31

Yes, the unit existed but what exactly was it? Therer were several Einsatzkommandos in Norway and none of those was a murder machine that could be compared to those in the Eastern Front.

In any case Silvennoinen's timeline does not seem to be consistent with Lars Westerlunds book on German POW camps in Finland. Silvennoinen claims that Einsatzkommando was operational already as early as July 1941 and by the latest November 1941. Excecutions would have taken place in Stalag 309. However, according to Westerlund only 34 persons were excecuted in Stalag 309 between July 1941 and end of year 1941 when Valpo's personnel was released from German service. I don't think that this invalidates Silvennoinen's work but it may mean that the chain of events was not quite as straight forward as descibed by him. According to Westerlund it is likely that some hundreds of prisoners were excecuted at Stalag 309 in March/April 1942 but this is not based on documents but on eye witness accounts.

Best regards,

Jari

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Juha Tompuri
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Re: Einsatzkommando Finnland and VALPO?

Postby Juha Tompuri » 28 Jan 2009 20:16

Mikko H. wrote:Reding the book leaves no doubt that the unit existed.
After reading the book, I still have doubts that "Einsatzkommando Finnland" existed.

Regards, Juha

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Harri
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Re: Einsatzkommando Finnland and VALPO?

Postby Harri » 28 Jan 2009 21:29

JariL wrote:...end of year 1941 when Valpo's personnel was released from German service.


Were they really in "German service"? I think Gestapo and SD didn't have any authorization to operate in Finland. If that was so the Finnish personnel (soldiers or policemen) could be only liaison officers or similar. In that case their task was to supervise German's actions in Finland. Also in northern Finland Finnish civilian authorities were in duty and definately not under German command. On the Soviet side of the border the situation was different.

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Re: Einsatzkommando Finnland and VALPO?

Postby JariL » 29 Jan 2009 15:08

Hi,

There are two different issues involved. One is that Valpo's interrogators would have had the power to deliver death penalties had Germans occupied Murmansk and the Sonderkommando in question moved into the city. Silvennoinen has found a document that seems to prove that this was the case and that the document has been sent to and read at Valpo HQ without raising any objections . An other matter is that based on the above document and a couple of letters Silvennoinen deduces that Valpo's interrogators had the same mandate also while they were working in Stalag 309 until year end in 1941. And yes, Valpo's interrogators and interpreters were in German service. One of them never returned to Valpo but remained in German service and finally left Finland with them in 1944.

The question that Silvennoinen does not really ponder is why Valpo co-operated. His explanation is hatred towards communism. But he does not stop to think of any other motives nor does he ponder what options Valpo had once it learned that RSHA was going to set up an operation in Finland as part of the SS Division Nord. To me SS Nord was the German way of avoiding any issues on authority. Based on the information given by Silvennoinen, Valpo's co-operation with Germans was not prepared well in advande but was pushed through in haste. How much Anthoni and Aaltone knew when they had to make the decision? What were their motives if anti communism is not given the same weight as Silvennoinen does?

Regards,


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