The Finnish occupation policy in Eastern Karelia 1941-1944.

Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
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Bair
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Post by Bair » 13 May 2003 22:06

It is funny to see how any discussion about Finland - USSR in WWII raises hell of emotions and ends up in mutual insulting :) It is history, what is done, is done. We just have to live with it now and study it as something that we cannot change.

Concerning the Finnish occupation policy in Eastern Karelia in 1941 - 1944.

I think Juha T posted a brief summary about the list of Finnish war criminals that were tried/sentenced after the Continuation War on request of Allies Control Commission (We all know that Soviet representatives dominated in it).

All we know about this in Russia is that Finnish military administration set up concentration camps for local Russians in some areas. On the occasion of Victory Day, there was a program on Russian TV with interviews of prosoners of those camps. From what I saw, people still felt a bit bitter about that fact.

Anyway, I am now reading a book called A History of Finland by Eino Jutikkala and Kauko Pirinen, which seems to be really Finnish official point of view. In that book the authors state that Finland took Eastern Karelia in 1941 as a pawn in future negotiations with USSR... I do not agree with that. BTW, how widespread was the Great Finland idea from Botnian Gulf to the Urals? Mr. Baryshnikov states that this was the intention of the Finnish government. This I also cannot agree with.

regards,

Bair
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Post by Antti V » 13 May 2003 22:29

Bair wrote:
Anyway, I am now reading a book called A History of Finland by Eino Jutikkala and Kauko Pirinen, which seems to be really Finnish official point of view. In that book the authors state that Finland took Eastern Karelia in 1941 as a pawn in future negotiations with USSR... I do not agree with that. BTW, how widespread was the Great Finland idea from Botnian Gulf to the Urals? Mr. Baryshnikov states that this was the intention of the Finnish government. This I also cannot agree with.

regards,

Bair
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Great Finland would include that what was occupied 1941-1944. Areas in Olonets and Viena´s Karelia which were populated by Karelians and other Finno-Ugrics. And creating also 3 isthmus border for defence purpose, that area went bit over Karelians areas in east. I guess Baryshnikov has took too seriously about Finnish jokes that we would go to Urals. :) Finnish patriotism in that time was including Karelia (Karelianism), it was the core of whole Finnish nationalism in that time. Simply because Finnish culture was very much same as Karelian (Kalevala, national instrument Kantele etc) and it was much stronger as ideology or cultural thing than it is nowdays. So I don´t think here was any serious discussion about Urals.

What comes to pawn idea, it was real. Mannerheim was hoping that keeping East-Karelia under Finns control, it would be possible to create equal negotiation situation with Soviets, especially in later stage (after Stalingrad) in war. Well, 1944 changed everything and all great already finished defence lines in East-Karelia were abandoned without any serious battle when troops were transported to Karelian Isthmus (Where defence lines were still unfinished).

But as said, that´s all official history. We never will know what Mannerheim & co. really thinked or were hoping. :lol:

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Post by Juha Tompuri » 13 May 2003 23:36

Bair wrote: Concerning the Finnish occupation policy in Eastern Karelia in 1941 - 1944.

I think Juha T posted a brief summary about the list of Finnish war criminals that were tried/sentenced after the Continuation War on request of Allies Control Commission (We all know that Soviet representatives dominated in it).

regards,

Bair
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Hi Bair!
Yes, wrote(answered) about it at another forum: http://www.tendens.se/nicolas/forum/top ... PIC_ID=287

About E-Karelia: http://www.mannerheim.fi/06_vsota/e_itakar.htm
About Finnish "war criminals": http://www.mannerheim.fi/11_pres/e_sotsyy.htm

Regards, Juha

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East Karelia issue

Post by JariL » 14 May 2003 09:32

<Anyway, I am now reading a book called A History of Finland by Eino <Jutikkala and Kauko Pirinen, which seems to be really Finnish official <point of view. In that book the authors state that Finland took Eastern <Karelia in 1941 as a pawn in future negotiations with USSR... I do not <agree with that. BTW, how widespread was the Great Finland idea from <Botnian Gulf to the Urals? Mr. Baryshnikov states that this was the <intention of the Finnish government. This I also cannot agree with.

Hi Bair,

What comes to the policy of Finnish government conserning East Karelia it was "wait and see". Finnish government did not make any public claim to the area during the war and declared that the whole occupation was only a war time measure. However, at the same time the natural resources in the area were mappped, sometimes better than had been done in Finland proper back then. Finnish administration was also extended to East Karelia giving the local population basically the same status the Finnish population had allthough the administration in the area was under military administration not part of civilian administration. The paradox is largely explained by taking into account that Finnish society was almost totally mobilsed in 1941 and thus many competent civil servants could be drawn to military administration of East Karelia.

It should be noted that Russian speaking population did not have the same status as Finnish/Karelian speaking population until the latter half of 1943. Right from the beginning there was a deep divide within the military administration conserning Russians in East Karelia. Some saw Russians as an "alien element" that had to be removed from the area by expelling them to the German occupied area after the war. Others thought that they were just the same as everyone else -even if they had a bit of a lanuage problem;-) In the beginning of the occupation the first approach was favoured and it led to creation of the internation camps where part of the Russian speaking population was gathered. Those who ended being interned came mainly from the area to the south of Petroskoi. After quick German victory they were to be sent "back to Russia". Well, that did not happen and about 2.000 people out of 8.000 died for various reasons in the camps in the spring and summer 1942. From the summer 1942 the second approach won more and more ground. It must also be said that in this respect international pressure especially from the International Red Cross had an effect too. Finnish government responded very quickly when Red Cross pointed out problems.

Had Soviet Union been crushed Finland would most likely have received East Karelia as a reward. However, German apetite also grew when it seemed that the war would be over quickly, and it is possible that they would have grabbed most of the spoils. There were clear indications of this especially with regards to Koala area and the Murmansk railroad.

Now my memory fails me but I think it was Eino Jutikkala who wrote a book about the East Karelian question autumn 1941. The book was a response for the German question about Finlands demands for the coming peace conference (which never happened of course). In this book he discussed the different possibilities depending on how total the Soviet collapse was. If Soviet Union more or less ceased to exist then I think the goal was to get the border to run along river Svir and up to the arctic so that Koala peninsula would have belonged to Finland. The minimum was getting back what was lost during the Winter War. By letting one individual write a book about the issue Finnish government avoided taking a stand to the issue.

Occupation of East Karelia had clear military logic. By doing so Finnish army pushed the front far from the own border and secured the flank of the Karelian Isthmus. With hindsight this strategy did not work quite as planned because the Finnish first and second defensive lines in the Isthmus collapsed quickly in summer 1944. Troops from East Karelia had to be sent quickly to the Isthmus. With the remaining troops there was no other possibility than to withdraw more or less slowly back to the Finnish border. But the back door to the Isthmus remained closed and in this respect teh occupation served it's military purpose.

Politically East Karelia was a hot potato. Generally speaking about half of the members of Parliament (left + part of center) were opposed the annexation of East Karelia while the biggest support came from IKL and Kokoomus (right wing of the political field) plus some center and liberal candidates. In general the discussion on the subject was surpressed after autumn 1941 because it had negative effect abroad (read Sweden, Great Briatin and USA).

If the above sounds confused, good. That's how it was back then. I guess the summary is that if Baryshnikov claims that Finns occupied East Karelia with a solemn intention of keeping it he knows more than the Finnish war time leaders did. If he says they were opportunistic that would be true. They would most likely have grabbed the opportunity had Soviet Union collapsed. It might how ever be good to keep in mind what the Finnish president Risto Ryti said when the war broke out: "Even if Soviet Union is totally destroyed, we must remember that Russian nation will be back on it's feet in two generations."

Regards,

Jari

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Post by Bair » 14 May 2003 13:18

Dear Jari,

thank you for your comments. Well, Mr. Baryshnikov goes much further than claiming that Finland wanted to keep Eastern Karelia. He goes further to say that Finland wanted to expand all the way to the Urals, citing a session in the Finnish parliament when some guy from the right-wing party said: we should go all the way to the Urals.

Mr. Baryshnikov is completely and maybe intentionally wrong in making an opinion of a single right-wing MP to look like the official viewpoint of the Finnish government of those days. He has written several books on the subject and his books formed the public opinion in the USSR on the matter.

Also, it is not only Karelians who are related nation to the Finns. AFAIK the Mordva, and other nations to the east from Karelia are also related to the Finns, much more loosely, though. AFAIK the Karelian Academic Society had the idea that Finland should unite all Finnish-related nations/tribes under the umbrella of the Finnish state. From this comes Russian belief that Finns wanted to go as far as the Urals.

To Harry:

when I spoke about heated debates and emotions I first of all pointed out the overreaction from the Russian side. I do know about the 400 000 people who had to resettle elsewhere in Finland after USSR took the Karelian Isthmus. Somehow, most of the Finns that I have met (maybe I am just lucky) were quite calm and did not start shouting Karjala takaisin, waving a big red-black flag when they spoke to me about the Winter War.

You should have seen a couple of threads in Russian-language military forums about Winter War and Continuation war... It was really overheated.

With best regards,

Bair

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Post by Bair » 16 May 2003 21:31

OK, gentlemen,

here are some citations from Mr. Baryshnikov's book "Finland in WWII", published in 1988. Now hold your breath and try to understand why there are still important differences between Russians and Finns concerning history of both Winter War and Continuation War. :|

A passage about Finland entering Continuation War and the intentions of the Finnish government:

The most honest in expression of goals of Finland in the new war was the representative of a pro-fascist party "Patriotic People's Movement" Salmiala in his speech: " we now need to unite all the Finnish tribes together - he said - we need to make idea of Great Finland a reality and we need to move our borders (a question from the Parliament) - to where? - to the place where is the straight line from White Sea to Ladoga Lake" - "Shouting from the Parliament - Don't say all your thoughts aloud!

About Finnish occupation of Eastern Karelia, for Russians it is called just Karelia.

The fakeness of Finnish nationalistic propaganda about "liberation of tribal brothers" in Karelia was shown in the fact that one third of population that remained there was sent to concentration camps (reference to book by Morozov "Karelia in WWII", 1983)

Timber companies started large-scale exploitation of natural resources of the occupied territory. In essence, systematic and organized robbing of occupied regions, forced labour, as well as enslaving large share of civil population, torture and physical extermination of Soviet POWs - all these things made actions of Finland in Karelia very similar to those of Nazi Germany in the occupied areas of USSR. This was the implementation of "Great Finland" idea. The local population responded with partisan activities. (no reference to any source in this VERY strong statement).

So, it is all about the books that we read. Except for Mr. Baryshnikov, there were NO serious studies of Continuation War in Russia, especially when it comes to political history and understanding of political life inside Finland those days. I guess it is because internal political situation in the USSR in those days was quite different :cry: and people tend to extrapolate the political situation of their own country to other countries involved in WWII. Try to tell any Russian today that Finland was a democracy in WWII, he will laugh at you.

This is what I wanted to bring up here,

with best regards,

Bair

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Post by Harri » 16 May 2003 23:10

Well, the speech of IKL representative, I think, is quite correct. IKL was a forbidden party in Finland between 1936 and 1939 and many especially left wing didn't like them a lot.
Bair wrote:About Finnish occupation of Eastern Karelia, for Russians it is called just Karelia.
That is a mistake because I live in Karelia too and I'm a Finnish Karelian (= a Finn who speaks (South or North) Karelian dialect of Finnish language). :lol:

There have been debates where the "correct" border between Karelia and Savo has historically been and nowadays it is believed to been about there where the current South and North Karelia are. Name "South Karelia" is a new invention. That area belonged to the Viipuri Administrative District before the war. The area north from Lake Ladoga was called Ladogan Karelia [Laatokan Karjala].
Bair wrote:one third of population that remained there was sent to concentration camps
Note: "one third that remained"... A major part of Finnish and Karelian population was moved away before occupation.

Camps and their nature were already discussed. Anyway they all were inside Petrozavodsk (Petroskoi, Äänislinna) and were just separated blocks in the town.
Bair wrote:Timber companies started large-scale exploitation of natural resources of the occupied territory.
Never heard of this. During the war most factories were closed because there were no markets in the world for pulp and paper, but saw products and wood for heating was needed a lot due to re-construction period between 1942 and 1944. I think there is nothing dramatic with this because Soviets had already fell large areas when Finns came. There is most likely nothing intentional.
Bair wrote:In essence, systematic and organized robbing of occupied regions,
That is pure propaganda. Finnish troops were very disciplined and among the most civilized during the WW II and didn't go in for anything like that.
Bair wrote:forced labour,
Food for work, that's the way it was then, but only for those who were inprisoned. Majority of people worked normally and were free citizens.
Bair wrote:as well as enslaving large share of civil population,
They were interned, not enslaved. That's a bit hard accusation if one knows the history of Russia or USSR and all those collective farms... :roll:
Bair wrote:torture and physical extermination of Soviet POWs
Seldom heard of this either. A great deal of guards in prison camps were disabled soldiers and they probably didn't feel any mercy if needed, but torture was not according to rules. The most "hardened" communists etc. "special cases"were separated from other POWs and were in much more disciplined special camps for security reasons. It is likely they were treated "accordingly".

But very many reliable enough soldiers also worked on farms and for the state during the war almost like free people. They got better food (usually the same as the Finns) and I think were paid too. My mother still have two small self-made wooden packs which he received from Soviet POWs who visited in their home for meals (there were no guards with them). She has told me about these men many times.

I think Finnish POWs were treated much worse than Soviet POWs in Finland.
Bair wrote: - all these things made actions of Finland in Karelia very similar to those of Nazi Germany in the occupied areas of USSR. This was the implementation of "Great Finland" idea.
No, it was far from the occupation of Nazis. It is a bit exaggerated to claim anything like that.
Bair wrote:The local population responded with partisan activities.
Partisans were led and supported from Russia. That was one of the reasons for interning of Russian population. Trained sodiers and party members were left behind to organize secret activities. They were of course captured and shot if been caught in action according to the laws of war. Enemy spys and soldiers without proper markings were executed like everywhere else.
Bair wrote:Try to tell any Russian today that Finland was a democracy in WWII, he will laugh at you.
Why? Have they some kind of difficulties in accepting that?

Actually Finland has been democratic state since 1907 although there have been certain restrictions between 1907 and 1917 and during the crised in 1918/19 and 1939 - 1945 (no elections for a long time, president chosen by parliament etc).

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Some more

Post by JariL » 19 May 2003 10:38

Hi Bair,

Thanks for your comment.

It might be a good idea for someone to translate into Russian a book called "Suur-Suomen kahdet kasvot" ("Janus face of the Greater Finland") by Antti Laine. It is a very good study on the Finnish occupation of Russian Karelia. One book is not a definite truth but it would give a good starting point for further research as Laine is doing his best to show both faces as best as he can based on the material he had back in 1970's. And Russian historians have an excellent possibility to cross check what he wrote because the archives of the Finnish military administration were left intact in Petroskoi when Finns left 1944. Someone scrwed up with the evacuation back then. I believe Í read somewhere that the papers still exist today.

<Timber companies started large-scale exploitation of natural resources <of the occupied territory. In essence, systematic and organized robbing <of occupied regions, forced labour, as well as enslaving large share of <civil population, torture and physical extermination of Soviet POWs - all <these things made actions of Finland in Karelia very similar to those of <Nazi Germany in the occupied areas of USSR. This was the <implementation of "Great Finland" idea. The local population responded <with partisan activities. (no reference to any source in this VERY strong <statement).

As a rule civilians were not used as forced labour. Those who worked were paid basically the same wages as in Finland. One of the first things Soviet troops noticed when they came to Petroskoi in 1944 was that so many of the locals had watches. These people had bought with their salaries.

What comes to wages Russian speakers were discriminated in this respect as well. They were paid significantly less than the rest of the population. This might go under "forced labour" but it depends on with what one compares to. This practise was changed in 1943 after vigourous efforts of a couple of members of the military administration. POW's were not paid as a rule but they could get better rations especially when they were working in private farms. Some firms that had POW's in their service paid them the same wages as to any worker, others did not.

I don't know if the law that allowed the authorities to order people to certain tasks essential for the defense of the nation could be applied to East Karelian population. If it was then people could for example be ordered to help in repairing a damaged road for example.

What comes to torture it happened occasionally because beating with a cane as a punishment in POW camps can be called torture. This punishment was reserved especially to those who were caught when they tried to escape. What happened when POW's were questioned I don't know but threatening to hand a POW over to the Germans seems to have been on of the more effective ways of persuation.

Local population responded with partisan activities to a certain extent. But more important was that the local population helped partisan units that were sent to the area from the area controlled by the Red Army. They also gave a lot of information to the partisians. To counter this Finns tried to gather even the Finnish/Karelian speaking population into villages so that the partisans woudl find it harder to get assistance. It never worked. But in genral partisans were not a big nuisance behind Finnish lines. The only occasion when their activity caused bigger worry were the attacks to the Finnish border villages that have already been discussed at length in this forum.

Large scale exploitation of the national resources could not really happen. Reason to this were mainly long transportation distances. East Karelia was hoped to become more or less self sufficient so that it would not be a burden. But Finnish timber companies certainly made preparations to exploit the huge timber resources in the area and sort of divided the area between themselves just like they had done in Finland. It is too lengthy to try to describe how the system worked in Finland but perhaps it sufficies to say that most forests in Finland were owned by private farmers. To buy timber from them the paper and pulp companies divided the country into buying districts and built cartell to buy timber. It is possible that the companies could have bought large areas of forrest from the state had the area been annexed but who knows?

Comparing the occupation to German occupation is intentional propaganda. There would still be time for a more objective study. There have been some articles in Finnish magazines about life in Finnish occupied Karelia based on interviews of people who lived there back then. Their memories sounded in good and bad more like what Laine writes than what Baryshnikov writes.

There was also yesterday an interesting book review in Helsingin Sanomat . Four books were reviewd simultaneously. The most interesting of them to me was "Suurvallan rajamaa" (Borderland of a great power) by Juri Kilin. In the reference it is mentioned that Stalin made very far reaching plans for joining Russian Karelia and Finland. Still after Winter War he ordered that the official language of the area was Finnish (population 300.000 out of which Finnish speaking 8.000, Karelian speaking not mentioned but I think it was about 120.000) and for example school books were printed in Finnish. Why? Perhaps Kilin gives an answer. This book is originally written in Russian I believe. Original tittle is unfortunately not mentioned.

An other interesting book contains letters written by Martti and Elsa Haavio during 1941-42. Both represent well AKS activism and give some insights on how the two felt back then and what they saw. The editor has included some excerpts where Martti Haavio describes how people were sent to the camps in 1941 and how the empty houses were robbed later by Finnish soldiers.

My point here is that it is very sad if Baryshnikov is the kind of truth Russians want to hear. His aim seems to be to strengthen and support the myth about the Great Patriotic war. In that picture there will be no room for new interpretations. And mind you, with new interpretations I don't mean accepting Finnish point of view. I think that the main problem with Mr Baryshnikov is exactly the same as has been the case with many Finnish writers. Inability to look at matters from the other sides eyes.

If I as a Finn turn the map around and sit in Moscow in 1939 and see the situation from that angle I too would have been worried. I too would have started looking for assurances from my neighbours. This does not however mean that I would think that what Stalin decided to do was the right thing to do.

Similarily Baryshnikov fails to see that Finland did not have the military resources to do what he suggests. Finnish leaders were painfully aware of the fact that Finland only had one indispencable army and that full mobilisation could be maintained for a limited time only. Baryshnikov thinks like Finland had unlimited resources in "Russian style". I don't think that meaning of the term "ammunition shortage" has ever crossed his mind. Finnish leaders gambled the fate of their nation by joining German attack to Soviet Union but they were not a gang of megalomaniacs.

Regards,

Jari

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Post by Tiwaz » 02 Jun 2003 22:48

There are concentration camps and concentration camps.

Finnish ones were quite humane, given situation of Finland as a nation. While life of people who had Russian origin and therefore couldn't be trusted wasn't very nice in the camps life of average Finnish family was far from good.

These camps were very much similar to ones USA had for their Japanese-American citizens.

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Post by LeoAU » 03 Jun 2003 00:11

Tiwaz wrote:There are concentration camps and concentration camps.

Finnish ones were quite humane, given situation of Finland as a nation. While life of people who had Russian origin and therefore couldn't be trusted wasn't very nice in the camps life of average Finnish family was far from good.
Quite humane? 8O It's a concentration, not boyscout camp. If Auschwitz was created by Finns, you'd be saying we killed them in a 'human' way!

Any way, why would you call them humane? What, people there had good rations, light work hips of leisure and free time, and generally had fun?
These camps were very much similar to ones USA had for their Japanese-American citizens.
A big NO. First of all, US dealt with their own citizens, unlike Finland. And on their own land, unlike Finland.
Secondly, death rate of those 'humanly' treated Soviet civilians.

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Camps

Post by Sami_K » 03 Jun 2003 06:54

LeoAU wrote: Quite humane? 8O It's a concentration, not boyscout camp. If Auschwitz was created by Finns, you'd be saying we killed them in a 'human' way!

Any way, why would you call them humane? What, people there had good rations, light work hips of leisure and free time, and generally had fun?
Leo, I'm not sure if we've covered this before. Eg. the largest 'camps' at Petrozvadozk were simply town suburbs designated as 'camps'.

I wrote at another site (using as a source the book: by Gunnar Rosen, "Suomalaisina Itä-Karjalassa. Sotilashallinnon ja Suomen Punaisen Ristin yhteistoiminta 1941-1944", Helsinki 1998, published by the Finnish History Association.)
--------------------------------------

Petrozavodsk had actually at first no continuous barbed wire fence around the suburbs, which served as the camp area. The people were moved there partly as the many villages had been partly or mostly destroyed in combat and (in case of the Russian majority) when they were captured at the shores of Onega, there were no built up areas to accommodate them all. The captured population consisted of many elderly people, as well as women and children already suffering from a insufficient diet. Don't forget that the bulk of the people sent to these camps weren't captured from their homes, they were refugees without much food, most had had their homes burnt in the fighting. How should these people be fed in the sparsely populated Soviet Karelia?

The fences (seen in many photographs) were quickly erected after the first typhus fever cases were identified. The Finnish medical & military personnel responded with a hectic sanitation effort (each camp resident had to go to hot sauna and heat their clothes repeatedly until the it was sure the disease had been stopped), and this was experienced as a "cruel" act (even today the masses don't understand what is and what is not necessary course of actions to prevent a disaster, let alone in the early 1940s). The fences were erected to contain the area, to prevent possible typhus infected persons to leave the camp area.
The effort was a success, the disease was contained and relatively few died.

The only camp that actually could be regarded as a "concentration camp" (as we nowdays regard them) was one GULAG labor camp in to which the Finns moved the "dangerous" people, mostly communists & komsomol members. The reason was simple: it was the only camp which was "already built" with fences & all. After the first winter, the camp was abandoned due to poor construction resulting in inhuman conditions during the cold winter, and the Finns built a new camp.

----------------------------------------------------
p. 172
During late January-early February 1943, the first cases of Typhus Exanthematicus were identified in two of the largest camps in Petrovadozk (nr. 5 and 6). Two cases were identified in the peninsula portruding into Lake Onega (Finns called it Äänisniemi).

p.176
The commander of the camps in Petrovadozk asked reinforcements as he had a total compliment of 98 men to guard the camps which had, in total, a permieter exceeding 10 km. He asked for more barbed wire as the sparsely wired fence "To a large extent couldn't prevent people from coming and going from the camps as they pleased".

The camps received 60 more men to serve as guards and for the first time the camps were surrounded by a proper fence.

p.175
In total, there were 486 cases of typhus, of which 9 were Finns. 26 died (1 Finn), and the disease was prevented to spread to Finland proper or to the Finnish frontline troops.
-------------------------------

So yes, they definitely were more humane than Auschwitz. And yes, it is a disgrace that so many civilians died.

Did racism occur? Yes, the Russians weren't given as good rations as the Finns in Finland proper received or what the Karelians received.

Was the starvation intentional? No, Finland was on the verge of famine, Soviet Karelia with its long distances, poor roads and damages caused by the recent fighting was a unfortunate victim of circumstances.

Could the Finnish administration in the occupied Karelia have done a better job? Certainly, they weren't up to their task, but then again they did their best with the resources available.

If inspecting the age pyramid of the deceased, one can see that the deaths occurred either among the elderly or among children, the usual victims of insufficient diet.

Are Finnish 'concentration camps' comparable with the German 'concentration camps'? Certainly not. Too bad that to the ignorant the identical names are enough.

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Post by Harri » 03 Jun 2003 14:12

I agree with Sami.

About camps:
Leo is a typical "victim" of Soviet propaganda. Even today he looks everything through "red glasses". Like Tiwaz said "there are concentration camps and concentration camps". The name does not tell anything. The difference between these has been told many times. East Karelia was occupied by the Finns and all Soviet people who didn't co-operate with Finns were interned like everywhere in Finland.

Any believed "atrocities" of another side don't make any kind of vengeance justified. They are two separate cases and should be handled separately. And like we Finns know well Soviets weren't amont the most humane people in war mainly due to their "Communist superiority" attitude which was based on lies and fear.

About Partisans:
Almost all "very succesful" Soviet Partisan raids sound more like a fairy tales. It would be for example nice to hear which "two Finnish battalions were crusehed" in Alakurtti? The date and year (1941) make me feel that the author of that book Reigo has told about has probably counted all NKVD troops as Partisans.

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Post by LeoAU » 04 Jun 2003 08:36

Harri wrote: About camps:
Leo is a typical "victim" of Soviet propaganda.
Don't kid yourself, no more than you are typical victim of Finnish one. Actually no, much less than you are, because Soviet propaganda is non-existent for the last 10 years at least, and definately so here, down under.
You on the other hand, still live in the world full of good old chauvinistic info. I remember that nonsence you used to post about superior Finnish soldiers and inferior Soviet peasants etc.
Like Tiwaz said "there are concentration camps and concentration camps". The name does not tell anything. The difference between these has been told many times. East Karelia was occupied by the Finns and all Soviet people who didn't co-operate with Finns were interned like everywhere in Finland.
... yep, and quite a large portion of them died BECAUSE of the Finnish occupation, as the result of their actions. That's all there's to it.
Any believed "atrocities" of another side don't make any kind of vengeance justified. They are two separate cases and should be handled separately. And like we Finns know well Soviets weren't amont the most humane people in war mainly due to their "Communist superiority" attitude which was based on lies and fear.
What communist superiority?? Yep, they were not the most 'humane' people, which considering their level of perticipation in the war is quite easily explained. But I don't see any reasons for calling Finns the most humane ones!
About Partisans:
Almost all "very succesful" Soviet Partisan raids sound more like a fairy tales. It would be for example nice to hear which "two Finnish battalions were crusehed" in Alakurtti? The date and year (1941) make me feel that the author of that book Reigo has told about has probably counted all NKVD troops as Partisans.
All sides used to overclaim, which is quite normal.

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 04 Jun 2003 10:16

LeoAU wrote:Don't kid yourself, no more than you are typical victim of Finnish one. Actually no, much less than you are, because Soviet propaganda is non-existent for the last 10 years at least, and definately so here, down under.
:lol: That's good old, Leo!

I'm not. I'm glad you admit that. I just wish you'd also stop using Soviet era "rhetoric". It doesn't work outside USSR.
LeoAU wrote:You on the other hand, still live in the world full of good old chauvinistic info. I remember that nonsence you used to post about superior Finnish soldiers and inferior Soviet peasants etc.
You said that - again. :roll: I have lived all my life in the free country and I don't have to explain historical facts. I can also rely on my sources.
LeoAU wrote:...yep, and quite a large portion of them died BECAUSE of the Finnish occupation, as the result of their actions. That's all there's to it.
A major part of that "honour" belongs to USSR and its regime because it couldn't take care of its people in the 1930's. Probably quite a lot died also because of Soviet era "cleansings" and famine? But that's another story, yep, yep...
LeoAU wrote:What communist superiority??
Like German Nazis also Communists believe/believed they are better (superior) to other people. That made them do things they wouldn't othervise do, like atrocities etc.
LeoAU wrote:Yep, they were not the most 'humane' people, which considering their level of perticipation in the war is quite easily explained. But I don't see any reasons for calling Finns the most humane ones!
You said that too. Tiwaz only compared German concentration camps (hundreds) and Finnish "concentration camps" (a few) and said Finnish ones were very humane compared to German camps, which is true. Not to talk about Soviet camps which were of "top quality" in humanity...

If we compare Finnish soldiers to any other soldiers of WW II we can at once notice that Finnish soldiers were among the most humane ones. I'm waiting for your proves that the case was not so. I think that list is not very long...
LeoAU wrote:All sides used to overclaim, which is quite normal.
I agree with you, Leo. Finally. :)

Sami_K
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"All there is to it."

Post by Sami_K » 04 Jun 2003 14:32

LeoAU wrote: ... yep, and quite a large portion of them died BECAUSE of the Finnish occupation, as the result of their actions. That's all there's to it.
But the fact is that many of them would've died regardless of Finnish action. The % of the dead gets flawed when the bulk of the 'healthy' populace were evacuated or made it to eg. across Lake Onega in time. Had the 'age pyramid' of the population in the Finnish occupied territory been the same as before the war, the % of the dead, compared to the combined numbers, wouldn't have been so high as it was.

Of course, the its the WAR (and all the things linked to it) that killed people more than 'the Finnish occupation'.

The scorched earth tactics, including burning homes, grain & wheat stores (like sinking barges full of grain), had its impact too. The Russians & Karelians captured at the shores of Lake Onega weren't in top shape to begin with (thanks to the long evacuation trips made on foot).
Eg. had there been no war in 1939-1940, including the Finnish loss of cultivation fields in the ceded areas, Finland would've been in a better position regarding food supplies (hence, WAR in play here again). Its WAR that caused food problems in USSR too, resulting in high mortality rates among civilians.

The parts of Karelia which the Finns occupied was in VERY poor shape (eg. if compared to other parts of Russia), both in terms of housing, infrastructure and cultivation. One of the better recent studies of the state of Soviet Karelia has been made by the Petrovadozk University professor Juri Kilin.

Of course, I don't say that 'you can't blame the Finns', I just say that the mortality rates in Soviet Karelia were quite high even before the war, and had the 'fit individuals' left, the mortality % of the remaining population would've increased even without a war.

Then it comes down to, 'who started the war'. Of course, Germany did, and Finland attacked alongside with it, but the truth is that the foreign policy of the USSR between March 1940-Spring 1941, had its impact on what the Finnish leadership decided to do. Had Finland NOT feeled threathened by the USSR, or allowed to seek (military) security eg. from a Nordic defensive alliance (Finland tried, but Molotov put a quick end to it), perhaps there would've been an alternative than Germany. But it went as it went.

But that is going to the root causes' behind the events that happened (including the Finnish occupation). As Finland chose it path in accordance what the Great Powers did and behaved towards Finland, thus regarding the Finnish involvement in the Great Patriotic War, the USSR is all but blameless.

I know that the KISS principle is fine in some regards, it still isn't good when discussing history.

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