Marcus Wendel wrote:Interesting but would not the USSR that was largely in control of the Baltic states at the time had some other ideas?
Although the Red Army had strong garissons in the Baltic states, the USSR did not control the Government until June 1940.
General Sikorski submitted to the Finns a proposal to create a supporting Polish Corps, composed of Polish soldiers interned in Lithuania and Latvia (estimated at about 20 thousand soldiers). Both countries initially agreed to release the soldiers and send them to Sweden (direct transport to Finland was not possible as it was a country directly involved in hostilities). The project collapsed, however, because Sweden refused the transit of the Polish soldiers.
Well, I don't think the Governments of the Lithuania and Latvia agreed to sent internees to Sweden, because it would be a violation of the Haga convention, and two small countries could not make so risky agreements having so determined Germany and USSR in the close neighborhood. AFAIK France and UK planned the expeditionary force to go throw Norvegia and Sweden but both Scandinavic countries did not agree to let them go throw. I believe this was only proposition and no Lithuanian or Latvian agreements were made, So, the proposition of use of the Polish Army (internees in the Baltic states) in the Winter War was naive and unrealistic.
According to Polish military attache to Lithuania Leon Mitkiewicz, he had got an instruction from general Mieczyslaw Norvid-Neugebauer on 23rd September, 1939, to send big parties of the internees to France by...railroad. L.Mitkiewitcz wrote the instruction was naive and he had some doubts about the geografical knowledg of the authors of the instruction. So, the process began long time before the Winter War started.
From September 10th to Octboer 15th only about 400 internees got French and British visas, but only about 150 left Lithuania. The Sweden Governemet was very reluctant to give visas, even transite.
Later a lot of internees escaped with a silent agreement of the Lithuania Government. For example, almost everybody could get a passport and other documents as the civilian refugee in the UK embassy in Kaunas, Lithuania. Officers from Military Hospital could leave and go straigt to the UK, French or Sweden embassy. The Germany made few hot protests, Lithuania tried to creat a police posts near embassys, but after hot protests of the UK, French or Sweden embassies police posts were refused. Some captured escaped internees (very few) were covicted for 4 months.
Some "escaped" internees went to the Bornholm (Sweden?), on the Lithuanian fishermen boats, few fishermen were even convicted.
360 released as the citizens of the Lithuania
1100 released as unsuitable for military service
1718 voluntary left to USSR
1613 voluntary left to Germany
182 released as a medical personnel
136 released by guarantee of the Lithuanian citizens (guaranteed by landlords of the Polish nationality, mostly)
800 released recognited as civilians
2500 escaped (439 from 1st to 10th July, 1940)
4373 taken by USSR after occupation.
I would like to note Polish internees were disposed to Lithuania very unfriendly. The internees had a lot internal controversy too: Ukrainians against Poles, solders against officers and etc.