"Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
Seppo Jyrkinen
Member
Posts: 317
Joined: 21 Dec 2010 17:51
Location: Finland, Lappeenranta

Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Seppo Jyrkinen » 30 Apr 2011 10:42

Mannerheim / Finnish Red Cross did ask help from the whole world.

At the worst time, 1.3.1942, Mannerheim send a letter to international Red Cross (CIRC) to get help to POWs. In this letter was told that POWs would die if not helped. Swedish Red Cross got this as well as several national Red Cross organisations around the world.

US Red Cross was the sole organisation in the world which answered to this request for help. - So far I know, Stalin didn't try help his own countrymen. For him soviet POWs were traitors.
A word irony is baked into the word history.

Philip S. Walker
Member
Posts: 1113
Joined: 06 Jan 2011 17:44

Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Philip S. Walker » 30 Apr 2011 11:03

@Seppo Jyrkinen.
Mannerheim / Finnish Red Cross did ask help from the whole world.

At the worst time, 1.3.1942, Mannerheim send a letter to international Red Cross (CIRC) to get help to POWs. In this letter was told that POWs would die if not helped. Swedish Red Cross got this as well as several national Red Cross organisations around the world.
Not according to Lars Westerlund. If you have some sources that he doesn't know, you should present them.
So far I know, Stalin didn't try help his own countrymen. For him soviet POWs were traitors.
Here you contradict Oleg's last post. Both his and your claims are presented with no sources attached.

David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23724
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by David Thompson » 01 May 2011 05:02

An off-topic post from Michael Mills was removed by this moderator pursuant to earlier thread warnings on topicality, the latest of which can be seen at http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 5#p1583435 - DT.

Seppo Jyrkinen
Member
Posts: 317
Joined: 21 Dec 2010 17:51
Location: Finland, Lappeenranta

Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Seppo Jyrkinen » 01 May 2011 13:50

Philip S. Walker wrote:@Seppo Jyrkinen.
Mannerheim / Finnish Red Cross did ask help from the whole world.

At the worst time, 1.3.1942, Mannerheim send a letter to international Red Cross (CIRC) to get help to POWs. In this letter was told that POWs would die if not helped. Swedish Red Cross got this as well as several national Red Cross organisations around the world.
Not according to Lars Westerlund. If you have some sources that he doesn't know, you should present them.
In his book (Sotavankien ja siviili-internoitujen sodanaikainen kuolleisuus Suomessa) Westerlund tells about Mannerheim's letter to CIRC in several occasions and uses several pages to this issue. You can't read the book without noticing them. (I don't say you had a duty to read it)

On the other hand Westerlund claims, that Mannerheim didn't ask help from Sweden.

Logical only if you assume that CIRC didn't transmit Mannerheim's request to Sweden. - And this is not the only odd claim in Westerlund's book. Source criticism is worthy.
A word irony is baked into the word history.

Philip S. Walker
Member
Posts: 1113
Joined: 06 Jan 2011 17:44

Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Philip S. Walker » 01 May 2011 22:39

Mannerheim send a letter to international Red Cross (CIRC) to get help to POWs. In this letter was told that POWs would die if not helped. Swedish Red Cross got this
Do you have evidence of this? Wouldn't they just automatically assume that Mannerheim had contacted Swedish Red Cross himself as the very first thing?

In any case, it seems strange that he didn't.

Do we have an actual copy of the letter he sent?
And this is not the only odd claim in Westerlund's book. Source criticism is worthy.
I agree with you. It seem to me that Westerlund is so eager to prove that Mannerheim was a creep that it is damaging to his own trustworthiness.

michael mills
Member
Posts: 9000
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by michael mills » 02 May 2011 06:38

Mannerheim / Finnish Red Cross did ask help from the whole world.

At the worst time, 1.3.1942, Mannerheim send a letter to international Red Cross (CIRC) to get help to POWs. In this letter was told that POWs would die if not helped. Swedish Red Cross got this as well as several national Red Cross organisations around the world.

US Red Cross was the sole organisation in the world which answered to this request for help. - So far I know, Stalin didn't try help his own countrymen. For him soviet POWs were traitors.
The last point made by Seppo Jyrkinen is crucial to this discussion.

It was very difficult for the ICRC, and for the Red Crooss Societies of individual states, acting in response to the appeal coming from Finland, to organise food aid and other forms of assistance to the Soviet POWs held by the Finnish Army in the absence of any approach by the Soviet Government on behalf of those POWs.

It needs to be borne in mind that the ICRC does not itself possess food and other forms of aid that it can supply to POWs, nor do individual national Red Cross societies. All that the ICRC and national Red Cross societies can do is to act as intermediaries between belligerent states for the purpose of organising the provision of assistance to POWs.

Thus, the ICRC could have facilitated the provision of food aid to the Soviet POWs in Finnish hands if the Soviet Government had made such aid available and had asked the ICRC to act as facilitator. If the Soviet Government did not have any spare food itself for provision to the POWs through the Red Cross, it could have asked the ICRC to approach its allies, eg US or Canada, to provide food aid through Red Cross channels.

But the fact is that the Soviet Government made no approach to the ICRC to organise food aid for its POWs in Finnish hands. Without the endorsement of the Soviet Government, any appeal by the ICRC or the Red Cross societies of Finland and Sweden for food aid for the Soviet POWs would not get any response from the Western Allied Governments, which were the only agencies that could physically supply that aid.

As Seppo Jyrkinben wrote, the reason why Stalin made no appeal to anybody for the provision of assistance to the Soviet POWs in Finnish hands is that he regarded them as traitors for not having fopught to the death, and therefore as undeserving of any assistance.

The post by Oleg Grigoryev does not alter that fact. It is irrelevant that only 4% of former Soviet POWs were executed by the Soviet Government as traitors; Stalin obviously saw it as more beneficial to use the great majority of the former POWs as cannon fodder or as penal labour. The fact remains that while Soviet POWs remained in Finnish or German hands, Stalin did nothing to help them.

Thus, the deaths of Soviet POWs from malnutrition while in Finnish hands were in part the result of Stalin's refusal to request assistance for them. It is likely that the death rate of the Soviet POWs would have been much lower if the ICRC had been able to organise a flow of food aid to them from Western sources which had plenty to spare; but that would have required a request from the Soviet Government, which never came.

User avatar
Juha Tompuri
Forum Staff
Posts: 11563
Joined: 11 Sep 2002 20:02
Location: Mylsä

Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Juha Tompuri » 04 May 2011 22:41

Seppo Jyrkinen wrote:
Philip S. Walker wrote:@Seppo Jyrkinen.
Mannerheim / Finnish Red Cross did ask help from the whole world.

At the worst time, 1.3.1942, Mannerheim send a letter to international Red Cross (CIRC) to get help to POWs. In this letter was told that POWs would die if not helped. Swedish Red Cross got this as well as several national Red Cross organisations around the world.
Not according to Lars Westerlund. If you have some sources that he doesn't know, you should present them.
In his book (Sotavankien ja siviili-internoitujen sodanaikainen kuolleisuus Suomessa) Westerlund tells about Mannerheim's letter to CIRC in several occasions and uses several pages to this issue. You can't read the book without noticing them. (I don't say you had a duty to read it)
Yes.

Philip S. Walker wrote:
Mannerheim send a letter to international Red Cross (CIRC) to get help to POWs. In this letter was told that POWs would die if not helped. Swedish Red Cross got this
Do you have evidence of this? Wouldn't they just automatically assume that Mannerheim had contacted Swedish Red Cross himself as the very first thing?
IIRC Mannerheim send the request for help to directly to the CIRC chairman.
I would find it a bit odd if the CIRC wouldn't have passed the request to all the member nations.
Why would Sweden have been left out?

Regards, Juha

User avatar
Marcus
Member
Posts: 33963
Joined: 08 Mar 2002 22:35
Location: Europe

Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Marcus » 05 May 2011 11:14

A post by Philip S. Walker containing only personal remarks about another member was removed following previous warnings.

/Marcus

Philip S. Walker
Member
Posts: 1113
Joined: 06 Jan 2011 17:44

Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Philip S. Walker » 05 May 2011 11:24

Juha: IIRC Mannerheim send the request for help to directly to the CIRC chairman.
I would find it a bit odd if the CIRC wouldn't have passed the request to all the member nations.
Why would Sweden have been left out?
The important question is why Mannerheim didn't approached the Swedish RC directly.

It was a desperate situation and the fastest and the most obvious way to get help would be from Sweden. You would think it logical that Mannerheim should approach both the CIRC and the Swedish RC, to save time and thus reduce the length of the communication line substantially. It seems a bit strange to send a message in English from Helsinki to an office in New York, and then rely on them distributing the message all over the world, by which means it also ends up in Stockholm - when in fact all Mannerheim had to do in this regard was contact Stockholm directly in the language that was his own.

Lars Westerlund gives a whole sting of reasons for that in his essay. He claims it was basically a stunt on Mannerheim's behalf to glorify himself in the eyes of an international forum. Also, the relationship between Finland and Sweden had grown tense after the start of the Continuation War and Mannerheim was careful not to upset the apple cart.

User avatar
Juha Tompuri
Forum Staff
Posts: 11563
Joined: 11 Sep 2002 20:02
Location: Mylsä

Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Juha Tompuri » 06 May 2011 21:12

Philip S. Walker wrote:
Juha: IIRC Mannerheim send the request for help to directly to the CIRC chairman.
I would find it a bit odd if the CIRC wouldn't have passed the request to all the member nations.
Why would Sweden have been left out?
The important question is why Mannerheim didn't approached the Swedish RC directly.
Perhaps as a military man he respected the chain of command and the rapid CIRC action over the issue?

Philip S. Walker wrote: It seems a bit strange to send a message in English from Helsinki to an office in New York, and then rely on them distributing the message all over the world, by which means it also ends up in Stockholm - when in fact all Mannerheim had to do in this regard was contact Stockholm directly in the language that was his own.
IIRC the CIRC hedquarter was at Switzerland, and so for example french language would have suited quite well.

Regards, Juha

Seppo Jyrkinen
Member
Posts: 317
Joined: 21 Dec 2010 17:51
Location: Finland, Lappeenranta

Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Seppo Jyrkinen » 08 May 2011 12:57

Why Mannerheim didn't send his request directly to Sweden? When examining the POW's mortality, this is irrelevant, but when looking to history, is very interesting.

Sweden had several times refused to supply food to Finish civilians already 1940 and 1941. They didn't either sell clothings to 40.000 East-Karelian civilians. As reason for this last one, they told fear for British blockade.

So, Sweden had several times told "no" to Finish requests. Mannerheim didn't have any reason to believe that Sweden's attitude had changed.

His letter to CIRC (Geneva) can be found in several public sources.

One very logical possibility is - and I say this with no facts - that Mannerheim asked verbally if it was possible to get help from Sweden and got a negative answer. Mannerheim had relatives in Sweden and he even spoke better Swedish than Finish.
A word irony is baked into the word history.

Philip S. Walker
Member
Posts: 1113
Joined: 06 Jan 2011 17:44

Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Philip S. Walker » 08 May 2011 13:59

There may have been several factors behind Mannerheim's lack of a written approach to the Swedish RC.

We know that Sweden, in the alliance negotiations during the Interim Peace, had made it a condition for such a relationship that Finland must not enter into a new war with the Soviet Union. This was a sign of a general worry among some Swedish leaders about "what Finland was up to". In the light of that it is easy to make out what official Sweden felt about the Continuation War.

On top of that, there was a strong influence from the AKS in certain areas of Finnish army policies, particularly during the first year or two of the Continuation War. In practice, they were running the internment camps for civilians and probably were also highly involved with the running of the POW camps.

As is well-known, it was part of official AKS policy that certain areas of Northern Sweden should be annexed to Greater Finland.

So all in all ... not the brightest moment in common Nordic relations.

Mangrove
Member
Posts: 2030
Joined: 25 Dec 2004 01:33

Re: "Finland shot 1000 POWs"

Post by Mangrove » 03 Dec 2013 13:04

Captors of Prisoners of War: The Psychology of the Human Species, Soviet Prisoners of War and Finland, 1941–1944 (in Finnish with English summary)
This study explores the treatment of Soviet prisoners of war during the Continuation War (1941–1944) fought between Finland and the Soviet Union. The study focuses especially on the mass deaths of Soviet POWs at the hands of Finns and the Finnish POW administration’s handling of this crisis.

During the Continuation war, Finland captured at least 67,000 Soviet POWs, of which at least 19,000 and probably over 22,000 (i.e. about one third) died. In terms of the death rate of POWs, Finland was closer to totalitarian regimes – Germany, Soviet Union and Japan – than to other democratic countries such as the UK or USA.
[...]
This study shows that the psychological predispositions of the human mind – especially the predisposition to self-deception and dehumanization – make understandable the development of the mass deaths of Soviet POWs and the fact that the Finns took so long to respond to the appalling situation. In addition, I identify the restraints required to render the circumstances of POWs humane, the most important of which were those which motivated the Finns to keep the POWs alive. The main motivating factors were Finland’s reputation as a civilized nation, the prolongation of the war together with the weakened belief that Germany would win the war, and the labor needs of local employers. The study also finds that those Finns who were in personal contact with POWs usually treated them fairly well due to the human capacity for empathy and the sympathetic need to help others that stems from either moral anger or reciprocity.

Return to “Holocaust & 20th Century War Crimes”