"Finland shot 1000 POWs"

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Marcus
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"Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Marcus » 17 Aug 2008 10:11

The Swedish SVT TV-channel reports (based on an article in the Finnish newspaper Keskisuomalainen) that new research by Finnish researcher Antti Kujala suggest that about 19.000 Soviets died in Finnish captivity, most of them from diseases but that at least 1.000 were shot and an estimated 200 shot before being registered as POWs.
Finland arkebuserade över fem procent av de sovjetiska krigsfångar, som dog i fortsättningskriget mellan 1941 och 1944. Det visar ny forskning, uppger tidningen Keskisuomalainen.
Ca 19.000 krigsfångar dog, de flesta av sjukdomar. Men minst 1.000 lägerfångar blev arkebuserade. Forskaren Antti Kujala beräknar att ytterligare 200 tros ha skjutits innan de registrerades.
Antalet döda krigsfångar är förhållandevis högt mätt med internationella mått.
http://www.svt.se/svt/jsp/Crosslink.jsp ... ik_1219215

/Marcus

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Harri
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Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Harri » 17 Aug 2008 15:03

That is not any new information. I have not managed to see the study but the figures depend a lot of the definition on what we consider "shooting" and in which conditions this shooting took place. If we don't know the backgrounds or we define the conditions too loosely there is lots of "room" for speculations. I think we only talk about those POWs who were already captured by the Finns and were in the POWs camps?

For example this site contains the same information I think (in Finnish):

http://www.srk.alajarvi.fi/sotakansio/sotavangit.html
Noin 1000 neuvostoliittolaista sotavankia teloitettiin tai ammuttiin kapinoinnin tai karkaamisen johdosta.
About 1000 Soviet POWs were executed or shot due to rebelling or escaping.
The number of shot surrendering Soviet soldiers we won't probably never know although the number 200 was mentioned.

-------

This perhaps is more or less off-topic but to get some perspective on the conditions and fate of the POWs this example is very describing (in Finnish):

http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/S/S_Hindenburg
S/S Hindenburg oli saksalainen rahtilaiva joka ajoi miinaan 17. marraskuuta 1942 Utön luona ja upposi pari päivää myöhemmin 19. marraskuuta Lohmin kohdalla Korppoon ja Nauvon välillä kun sitä oltiin hinaamassa sisäsaaristoon.

Hindenburg oli matkalla saattueessa Danzigista Utön kautta edelleen Pietarsaareen kun se ajoi Utön lähellä venäläisen sukellusveneen L3:n laskemaan miinaan. Laivan miehistö siirtyi muihin aluksiin mutta laivalle jäi vielä ruumaan teljettynä mukana olleet noin 1000 venäläistä sotavankia. Hindenburgia lähdettiin hinaamaan sisäsaaristoon mutta se juuttui karille Snökubbin kohdalla. Tässä vaiheessa osa laivalla olleista vangeista onnistui murtautumaan kannelle mutta saksalaiset ampuivat heitä 20 mm konetykillä.

Kun suomalaiset meripelastajat tulivat paikalle sotavangit saatiin siirrettyä proomuilla Turkuun.
S/S Hinderburg was a German freighter which hit a seamine on 17.11.1942 at Utö and sank two days later on 19.11. at Lohmi between Korppoo and Nauvo when it was towed to the inner archipelago.

Hindenburg was part of a convoy en route from Danzig through Utö and further to Pietarsaari when it hit a seamine laid by a Soviet submarine L3. Ship crew moved to other vessels but the about 1000 Soviet POWs carried by the ship still stayed in the hold behind the locks. Hindenburg was started towing to the inner archipelago but it was stuck on a shallow at Snökubb. In this stage part of the POWs had managed to break to the deck but Germans shot them with a 20 mm gun.

After the Finnish sea rescue [rescue ship / pelastusalus "Assistans" and Estonian tug / hinaaja "Pernan"] arrived to the place POWs could be moved to Turku with a barge.
During towing S/S Hindenburg eventually broke into two pieces and sank. It is not mentioned how many of these Soviet POWs actually survived.

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Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by JariL » 20 Aug 2008 12:49

Hi Marcus,

The header of the article is very misleading. Antti Kujala who made the research, explicitely points out that the killings were done by individuals and were not a result of a policy. Thus the header should be "Finns shot 1000 POWs" rather than "Finland shot 1000 POWs".

In the Swedish article it is also stated that the POW's were executed (Swedish: arkebusering). This is a very doubtfull translation of the Finnish term "ampua" that literally means shooting (skujta). Finnish term includes all types of killings but essentially means that the killings were not a result of a juridicial process, which any kind of excecution would have been.

Kujala also points out that at the front Finnish soldiers killed relatively speaking very few POW's. This refers to the ca. 200 POWs that were killed before they were registered.

In general accodring to Kujala motives for the shootings were lack of food (lead to riots among prisoners, looting, killings), loose dicipline (=unpredictable reactions of guards towards POW's), mental problems, drug problems (morfine dependencies were not uncommon as it was used as painkiller for wounded soldiers that were often sent to POW camps as guards) and general hatered towards the enemy.

Best regards,

Jari


Uusi tutkimustieto ei Kujalan mielestä muuta kuvaa suomalaisesta sotilaista. Rintamilla sotavankeja surmattiin Kujalan mukaan vähemmän kuin muilla sotanäyttämöillä. Vaikka tilanne vankileireillä oli huonompi, Kujala painottaa, että sotavankeja tappoivat yksittäiset henkilöt eikä surmia organisoitu ylätasolta.

- Kukaan ei ylhäältä käsin määrännyt, eikä haluttu, että sotavangit kuolevat. Se ei johtunut kenenkään toiveista. Suurin osa vankileirien vartijoista ei missään tapauksessa surmannut sotavankeja, vaan se oli pieni vähemmistö.

Yhteensä neuvostovankeja kuoli jatkosodan aikana noin 19 000, suurin osa heistä sairauksiin.

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Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by ThomasG » 20 Aug 2008 19:07

Does this number include the "desantniks" who were dropped behind the lines in civilian clothes for espionage and sabotage missions? They were executed legally.

A pic of a Finnish soldier executing a desantnik: (graphic)

http://s4.tinypic.com/vzx7k2.jpg

JariL
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Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by JariL » 27 Aug 2008 07:13

Hi,

No, desants were dropped behind the lines in civilian clothing for various tasks ranging from espionage to sabotage. Excecutions of desants were legal just as you pointed out and did not lead to any large scale investigations/prosecutions during or after the war, unlike .

Regards,

Jari

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Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by timotheus » 29 Aug 2008 04:55

THAT is a powerful picture.

Gave me shivers.

You can see the Soviet's face....

Sid Guttridge
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Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Sid Guttridge » 29 Aug 2008 12:16

Hi Guys,

The figure that interests me is the 19,000 Soviet prisoners alleged to have died in Finnish captivity.

This is a very high proportion that I suspect is nearer to the death rates of Soviet prisoners in German hands than that of Soviet prisoners in Romanian hands.

If it is proven, this dramatically changes the widespread perception that Finland's war was relatively clean.

I will reserve judgement until more details are known, but if this is proven it will significantly change perceptions.

Does anyone have any more on this?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Juha Hujanen
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Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Juha Hujanen » 29 Aug 2008 14:57

Here's some earlier discussion:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=59&t=56820

Cheers/Juha

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Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Sid Guttridge » 29 Aug 2008 16:26

Hi Juha,

Thanks.

I have the equivalent Romanian figures somewhere and will put them up for comparison.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Scharf
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Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Scharf » 29 Aug 2008 22:46

Hi,
I just want to say about russian POW's, that most of them died(dont mean shootings) because finns had not food even for own citizens. Especially 42-43 were very bad years. Later(44) situation was getting better.

Scharf

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Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by David Thompson » 29 Aug 2008 23:11

scharf -- Do you have any sources for our readers who want to know more?

ThomasG
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Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by ThomasG » 30 Aug 2008 00:03

Professor Ylikangas touches this matter in his statement submitted to the Prime Minister’s office regarding Elina Sana's book about "Surrenders of prisoners of war and detainees to the Gestapo".

For those who can speak Finnish:
Varsinainen suuren luokan katastrofi tapahtui jatkosodan alukuvaiheessa Suomen kaikkiaan 32 sotavankileirillä, jotka eivät kuitenkaan kaikki toimineet samanaikaisesti (Kujansuu 1996). Suomi otti sodan aikana noin 64.000 sotavankia, pääosan heistä heti sodan alussa. Huippukautena vuodenvaihteessa 1941-1942 Suomen sotavankileirejä kansoitti 56.500 sotavankia. Vangeista kuoli suunnilleen kolmannes eli virallisten ilmoitusten mukaan likimain 18.700 miestä (Hanski, 72). Kuolleisuus oli suurinta talvikautena 1941-42. Vuonna 1942 vangeista menehtyi yli 15.000 (T.Mikkola, 114). Menehtymisen syiksi mainitaan tavallisesti aliravitsemus ja kehnot leiriolot. Monet vangit joutuivat aluksi pitkähköksi aikaa pelkkiin avoleireihin tai pahvitelttoihin ilman kelvollisia asumuksia (T.Mikkola, 56). Eri leirien ja eri kansallisuuksien välillä esiintyy kuolleisuudessa merkitseviä eroja (Lindstedt, 307; Seppälä, 84-86). Savonlinnan lähelle Aholahteen suomensukuisia kieliä puhuville heimovangeille perustetulla leirillä numero 21 jäi kuolleisuus vuonna 1942 alle yhden prosentin (Hallikainen, 53-54). Koko maankin osalta on tietoja siitä, että venäläistä alkuperää olevia vankeja menehtyi eniten, Neuvostoliiton vähemmistökansallisuuksiin kuuluvia jo vähemmän ja vähiten suomensukuisia (P.Mikkola, 116-119). Tämä johtui tietoisesta kohtelun erilaistamisesta ruoka-annoksia myöten vankien etnisen taustan mukaan. Kuolleisuus vaihteli tietenkin samassa suhteessa. Vankien kohtelu riippui myös näiden poliittisesta laadusta ja sotilaallisesta asemasta. Muona-annokset poliittisten vankien tarkkaan eristetyllä leirillä jaettiin aluksi suppeimman ravintoluokituksen mukaan (Sana, 310). Upseerivankien huolto oli parempi, ja heidän kuolleisuutensa jäi pieneksi (Kujansuu 1996). Merkkejä juutalaisvankien diskriminoinnista ei ole havaittu (P.Mikkola, 118). Kesällä 1942 kuolleisuus alkoi laskea. Asiaan puuttuivat sekä siviili- että sotilasviranomaiset - myös ylipäällikkö Mannerheim - koska vankien massamittainen menehtyminen herätti huomiota ulkomaillakin.

Sotavankimuodostelmissa ammuttiiin tuhatkunta (992) vankia ilman tuomioistuimen päätöstä pakoyritysten yhteydessä tai muista syistä. Eniten (194) vankeja surmattiin sotavankileirillä 6 Viipurissa. Luvut edustavat varmoja vähimmäismääriä (Hallikainen, 115-116, 184, 190-191). Ammuttujen luku merkitsi 5,3 prosentin osuutta vankien kuolleisuudesta. (Kuolleena löydettyjä karkureita, joita oli useita satoja, ei liene sisällytetty tähän lukuun.) Myös rangaistuksissa kohdeltiin ankarimmin venäläisiä, lievimmin suomensukuisia (Syrjämäki, 46-51). Vastoin kansainvälisiä sopimuksia ja sotaväen rikoslakia Suomessa sallittiin ankarien kurinpitorangaistusten - myös raipparangaistuksen - käyttö (Kujansuu 1999, 189-193).

Kokonaisuudessaan vankien kuolleisuus oli Suomessa 30 prosentin luokkaa. Luku on kansainvälisesti mitaten korkea mutta ei kaikkein korkeimpia. Vankien kuolleisuus monissa maissa ja tietyissä vankiryhmissä oli huomattavastikin suurempi (Hanski, 72-75; Hallikainen, 10). Japanilaisten raakuudestaan kuuluisilla vankileireillä kuoli vangeista 35 % (Blinnikka 1969). Saksassa menehtyi venäläisvangeista 60 %, länsiliittouneilta saaduista vangeista vain 11 %. Suomalaisvankien kuolleisuus Neuvostoliitossa on osittain hämärän peitossa. Virallisen ilmoituksen mukaan venäläiset ottivat talvi- ja jatkosodassa 2.950 vankia, joista palautettiin sotien loputtua 2.778 vankia. Tämän mukaan vangeista olisi menehtynyt vain nelisensataa (Tikkanen, 7). Kuitenkaan liki neljäntuhannen kadonneeksi ilmoitetun suomalaissotilaan kohtalosta ei ole tietoa (Seppälä, 87; Hanski, 75-76). Asiaa viimeksi ja perusteellisimmin tutkineiden Timo Malmin ja Teuvo Alavan (1995, 35) mukaan venäläiset saivat jatkosodassa 3.400 suomalaisvankia, joista menehtyi noin 1.400. Kuolleisuusprosentti heidän osaltaan kohosi siis likimain 40:een.
http://www.helsinki.fi/~hylikang/varjopuo.htm

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Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Scharf » 30 Aug 2008 01:08

It is on Thomas G's reply:
You can see sources, and that's why I am not going to translate those, but there is few main points which translated here:
At first; Elina Sana was scientist, which have very little credibility when asking most of finns. She was more finnish social democratic governments "slave". ( I don't mean to talk about politics, but had to say this :oops: Admin can do his job if necessery). Her analysis were judged in very many conjuctions.
About translates: Katastrof was in the beginning of Continution War. Most of died prisoners dien in winter 1941-42. Then over 15000 prisoners died. Main reason was malnutrition. There was big differences between those POW's who were finnish relations and pure russians. Also political prisoners had higher death rate. In summer 1942 things were getting better, when civil-and military authoritys and Marshall Mannerheim absented in it. :|

Well, I am not depreciating russian POW's losts, but that was wartime and horrible things happened. For example finnish POW's were many times shot immeaditly in 1944( for example in Äyräpää ), and those numbers are not seen in real POW-numbers. Just naked bodies in one place over 50 years after war ended. I am not saying that finns didnt do the same sometimes. War is War :roll:

Scharf

Sid Guttridge
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Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Aug 2008 11:43

Hi Scharf,

War is, indeed, war.

However, by WWII it was widely regulated in the treatment of prisoners:

The 1907 Hague Convention reads:

Art. 7. The Government into whose hands prisoners of war have fallen is charged with their maintenance.
In the absence of a special agreement between the belligerents, prisoners of war shall be treated as regards board, lodging, and clothing on the same footing as the troops of the Government who captured them.

Under the 1929 Geneva Convention:

Articles 11, 12, 13 state that: Food must be of a similar quality and quantity to that of the Belligerent's own soldiers, and POWs can not be denied food as a punishment; A canteen selling local produce and products should be provided. Adequate clothing should be provided; and that sanitary service in camps should be more than sufficient to prevent epidemics.

The two treaties removed general war conditions from allowing differential treatment of POWs compared with a country's own soldiers.

19,000 more dead POWs in German or Soviet hands wouldn't change perceptions. The problem with this allegation is that it transforms the image of Finland from being a country that abided by international law in its conflict with the USSR into a country that did not. For this reason I think it should be very carefully investigated before drawing conclusions.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by ThomasG » 31 Aug 2008 13:18

Sid Guttridge wrote: Under the 1929 Geneva Convention:
The Soviets did not sign the Geneva Convention so Finland was not obligated to follow it.

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