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...from the shadows of the mounds

Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
Hosted by Juha Tompuri

...from the shadows of the mounds

Postby Whiskey on 30 Aug 2005 00:20

Greeting the home neighbourhoods
let this song of ours echo,
over the fields, waters and mountains
from Hanko up to Petsamo.


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Kauhava is a small municipality in western Finland, there aren't many municipalities which were farther from the frontline during the Winter War or the Continuation War. The total of 1656 men and 128 women left to fight the wars. 222 of them didn't return alive.

In Finland, from the beginning of the Winter War, it was self-evident that all fallen soldiers should be buried to their home parishes. This lead to great effort to regain all fallen comerades, leading to famous Finnish motto: "Kaveria ei jätetä!" ("Pal won't be left behind!") And also the army arranged transfer of bodies to their home parishes, where they were buried in single graves to the "heroes cemetary".

This practice differs enourmously to that used by other countries participating in World War II, where cemetaries were created to the locations where heavy casualties happened - like Normandy.

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Also in Kauhava there is a heroes cemetary, located right beside the church, where each of these 222 has his own tombstone.

There were few "temporary" field cemetaries, like at Taipaleenjoki, where number of bodies were buried during the battles, but generally they were digged up later and transported to their home parishes, so that only unidentified and local fallen were left there.

Naturally there were situations when the body disappeared or it was destroyed so totally that there wasn't anything left to put to the coffin. At those cases after six months after the end of war, if he wasn't among the prisoners of war, the disappeared person was declared dead and the empty coffin was buried and tombstone raised to him also.

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That happened to Veikko Annala, who disappeared when Soviets had broken through Finnish defences at Valkeasaari June 1944. He disappeared at Kivennapa (next to Valkeasaari at the Finnish side of the border) June 11.

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The ring of steps is the same,
our instinct knows it well,
from the shadows of the mounds,
from the dust of the ground
fathers look at their sons.


- F.E.Sillanpää, "March song"
Whiskey
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Postby Tuco on 30 Aug 2005 02:07

Thanks for posting. Very interesting.
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Location: East TN USA

Postby Tom Houlihan on 30 Aug 2005 04:23

A touching sentiment, to be sure. My respect for the people of Finland continues to grow.
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Tom Houlihan
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