Veikko Salkio & Pummanki 1939

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Klemen L.
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Veikko Salkio & Pummanki 1939

Post by Klemen L. » 07 Mar 2004 14:40

I guess this is more a question for our "Finnish corps" on this forum, so I would be very delighted if you could get a reply from them. Namely a couple of weeks ago I have discovered to my pleasant and big suprise that 91-year-old Salkio Veikko has published his memoars about his life in the north of Finland before the Talvisota and of course about his role in the mysterious Pummanki Affair in November 1939. For those who don't know a brief synopsis: In the night of 28-29 November 1939, a couple of hours before the outbreak of the armed conflict between USSR and Finland, a Soviet infiltration group attacked and kidnapped three Finnish border guards from the Pummanki Border Guard Post on the Kalastajasaarento Peninsula (today Rybachij in Russia) officered by Junior Sergeant Veikko Salkio. Since there has been a lot of guessing and controversy about WHAT has actually happened there on that fateful night and what happened with those three border guards (there were besides Junior Sergeant Salkkio also Privates (??) Korhonen and Eino Simonen) after the capture, where they interrogated, where they were taken, the identity of a Soviet unit that captured them etc., this book could finally give us an answer about what has actually happened there and what was the story wqith that fingernail that was found by the Finnish interrogation team on the scene of the kidnapping on the next day. Therefore I would kindly asked our Finnish friends on this forum if anyone of them has already read this book and could thus give us a short review of it ,especially about the events of November 1939 in Pummanki, which interest me - and I am sure also some other participants - very much. The title of the book is:

Veikko Salkio: "Pummanki - Jäämeren suomalainen kalastajakylä ja sen tuho"; 104 s., sidottu, ISBN 952-9505-42-6, Ulkoasu: Pertti Hyttinen, Painopaikka: Art-Print Oy, Kokkola 2003

Yours sincerly,

Klemen

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 07 Mar 2004 17:29

Here is the link of the publisher (in Finnish only):
http://www.lansirannikko.kpnet.com/pummanki_esi.htm

This is a new book to me. I'm not very familiar with this incident either but I think it had something to do with the imprisoning of the Commander of the local 10th Frontier Company. I think he was Lieutenant Salmela (or Salmelo)? He was accused of espionage and committed suicide after he was caught (according to another story he was shot during interrogation "by accident"). The new Commander legendary Capt. Antti Pennanen took command on 1.12.1939.

Can anyone tell us more? For some reason the official histories of Frontier Guard don't mention much details on these incidents.

Also Finnish civilians were captured in Petsamo region. Just about a week ago local newspaper told about a woman whom Soviets captured during the early hours of Winter War. Interestingly this poor woman could return back to Finland as late as in 1954!

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Post by Hanski » 07 Mar 2004 19:59

Klemen, thank you so much for bringing up the subject and giving identifying data for the book!

I know after the war Mr Veikko Salkio was among other things a well-known taxidermist in Rovaniemi. I believe he was either briefly interviewed for a Finnish TV documentary years ago on Finns captured as POWs, or at least mentioned by name in this context.

The best map I could find in the Internet on the scene of the capture of Mr Salkio is this:

http://www.histdoc.net/historia/petsamo.html

There are two fjords sticking from the North-West into the Kalastajasaarento / Rybachi Peninsula, and Pummanki village can be seen on the Southern shore of the more Northern Pummanki fjord.

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Juha Hujanen
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Post by Juha Hujanen » 08 Mar 2004 17:40

Hmm,there are few other sources of fate of Captain Valdemar Salmelo.Pentti Tikkanen in Lappi Sodissamme and Talvisodan Pikkujättiläinen says that Salmelo,who was CO of all Finnish forces in Petsamo,shot himself at afternoon of 30.11.

Apparently after he gave order to destroy harbour installatations and scuttle ships and burn the buildings,Russians advance became surpiringly slow.Salmelo thought that his order to destroy was premature and in despair he shot himself.

About Pummanki incident.This is what i found from Suomi Taisteli 1:

Border guard post in Haminatuntiri in Pummanki reported that in 28.11 1700 hours,steps were heard outside of the building of post and it asked thru telephone that had Pummanki post send any patrol there.Then phone went dead.
Guard post in Pummanki reported that immediatly to 1st. Lt.Autio in Liinahamari,which ordered in 1720 8 man patrol to be send to Gurd post.In 1730 leader of patrol reported that c.20 shots were heard from guard post and they stay put.
In 1735 1st.Lt.Autio was ordered to board in patrol boat Turja with necessary party of men and to go Pummanki to clarify situation.In 2230 Autio arrived to guard post of Haminatunturi.He found post to be unmanned and field telephone detached 4 meters outside of post.
Rations and other wquipment were scattered inside post,window was broken and door showed marks of hits with rifle butt.Border guards equipments and Ministry of foresty binocular were missing.C.20 meters outside post,towards to border,reserve Private Simonen's coat and belt were found.

The guard post of Haminatunturi is 350-400 meters from border.When 3 Finnish reservist are missing from post,there are no other possibilities than SU troops have came to Finnish soil and they have made themselfes guilty to transfer with force Finnish to SU.


That was from information office of Counsil of State.

Jahvetti in his book Suomi Neuvostoliiton Radiossa says that Moscow radio had made following bulletin:

Moscow 28.11.39 23.50.Finnish unit have made an attack today.First we retreaded but after help we throw enemy back across the border.3 enemy soldiers were captured and booty was 2 rifles.1 revolver,2 binoculars and flaregun.

Hope this helps

Cheers/Juha

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 08 Mar 2004 18:35

No wonder, I haven't red either one of the mentioned books. :oops: So, not a single word on espionage of Lt./Capt.(?) Salmelo? I think I red about that case from the old history of Frontier Guard (published in 1969) but I can't remember for sure. I'm 99% sure that Salmelo was arrested before he died (committed suicide or was shot). And I think he was not the only arrested one.

I'm also sure that this Pummanki case had something to do with the "Salmelo incident". Any more information? Who was the Commander of 10th Frontier [Guard] Company (also called 10th Separate Company) if Salmelo was not?

---

Actually Capt. Pennanen didn't command 10th Company for a long time because when he arrived on 1.12.1939 company name was changed to "Detachment Pennanen". Detachment was soon enlarged and consisted of two companies and engineer platoon (another company and engineer platoon were formed from the workers of Kolosjoki Nickel mines). I have never found the name or number of that second company.

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Juha Hujanen
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Post by Juha Hujanen » 08 Mar 2004 18:59

Atleast in 3.12 CO of 11th Company was 1st.Lt.M.Tiitola.

There were espionage cases in Petsamo just before war.In 29.10 29 persons,mainly from Border Guards, were arrested for espionage.In 4.11 Valpo's interrogator accidently shoots Captain Jalmari Pajakka during interrogation in Kemi.

Cheers/Juha

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 08 Mar 2004 19:12

Hmm... :? ...Have I mixed these two cases? :oops: That makes sense. Thank you Juha.

----

I borrowed the History of The Winter War (from my neighbour) just one hour ago. I found it would be really important to read all available books carefully before trying to remember what have red ten years ago. :oops:

I mean there is a good caption on the battles of Petsamo in vol. 3 of the above mentioned book. According to the book Capt. Salmelo was the Chief of the Petsamo Training Center. There were a total of 757 men but most were unarmed.

That's how it went:
"When the war broke in the morning on 30.11.1939 the troops commanded by Capt. V. Salmelo were grouped so that 10th Separate Company was at Parkkina and 5th Separate Battery (equipped with four 76 m field cannons from the year 1887) at Liinahamari. Additionally Field Guard 2 had set ground guards to Kuosmetjärvi, Leijärvi and Lusikkajärvi and Field Guard 1 groupd guards to the 100 km wide area from Lusikkajärvi to Korvatunturi [NOTE: Santa Claus lives there :lol: ]. Sea guards were set to Nurmensätti, Maattivuono, Pummanki and Vaitolahti. Guard ship Turja, auxiliary vessel Syväri [!] and expropriated fishing vessels were on the sea.

Espionage case revealed during the "Extraordinary Training" [YH], for which the Chief of Petsamo Frontier Company was arrested as a suspected one and later died during interrogation, and the several arrestings followed stirred up emotions at Petsamo. The personnel of Frontier Guard was not trusted so the mental starting-point for the succesful conducting of combat was as bad as it could be."

...

"In the afternoon the Chief of Petsamo Training Center Capt. Salmelo received the first information on the advance of the [Soviet] Infantry Regiment 242 and 95 towards Kaakkuri and Yläluostari. When the rear was threatened Capt. Salmelo ordered to destroy harbour fittings and vessels, burn the villages of Petsamo Fiord and retreat to rear defensive position at Naamaoaivi. Devastation works succeeded only half-way in the hurry but most of the population was evacuated. The slower than expected advancing of Soviet troops saved the defenders although it made the Commander doubt that Soviet troops had stopped and his devastation order was precipitated. Being shocked of this he shot himself and the command of the troops at Petsamo direction was moved to the Capt. A. Pennanen."
Now the case is clear. It is interesting that there is not mentioned a word of the Pummanki case and capturing of Finnish soldiers.

Lt. M. Tiitola was the commander of 10th Separate Company (not Salmelo nor Penannen). 11th Separate Company was formed before the war but was partly without weapons. 3rd Company of Detachment Pennanen [not a separare company] was formed in the mid-December 1939 when Finns captured enough Soviet weapons and could equip more troops. Other companies retained their names.

But thats another case. Lets go back to Pummanki... :)

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Juha Hujanen
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Post by Juha Hujanen » 09 Mar 2004 16:07

You are quite right,Tiitola was CO of 10th Company.I managed to mix up 10th and 11th Companies :oops:

11th was commanded by Lt.V.Kallio.

/Juha

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Post by Harri » 09 Mar 2004 18:06

Thank you very much Juha. I haven't found that piece of information yet. Do you appear to know who commanded the 3rd Company of Detachment Pennanen?

BTW have you red the book "Luton miehet" [Men of Lutto]? Is it worth reading?

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Klemen L.
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Pummanki 1939

Post by Klemen L. » 09 Mar 2004 23:50

Thank you all for your detailed and refreshing replies on this topic. Yes, Harri, you're completely correct that this incident is not mentioned in the Official History of the Finnish Border Guards, although it should be noted that it was as far as I know reported and broadcasted by almost all major European and world press agencies of that time. Apparently the kidnapping of three Finnish border guards from Pummanki Border Guard cottage caused a lot of worried faces among the civilian population and their demands for immediate evacuation were apparently promptly rejected by the Government, causing that on the first day of the war some 400 Finnish citizens in Pummanki, Vaitolahti and Maattivuono found themselves in the Soviet captivity, including the woman in question Mrs Hilma Kilkkinen from Pummanki. She spent several years in Soviet captivity and later wrote a book ("Pitkä matka Siperiaan", Otava, 1997), which was – at least so I have heard – a long time prohibited by the Government to go out and only later in late 1990s, after her death, it was allowed to go with it in the press.

Suicides in the military, failed evacuation and accusations of treason all speak in favour that a heavy "Schweinerei" was happening there just as the Petsamo area has found itself in the most crucial moment in its entire history. :roll:

I once again ask if anyone of you who are from Finland could try to borrow this book and tell us what Mr Salkio has written about the Pummanki Affair. He was one of those three unfortunate border guardsmen that was abducted, so he would be the the right address to look for, especially as he has stated in one of his post-war interrogations that they were taken across the border where he was apparently personally interrogated by some high-ranking Soviet officers. It would be nice to know who and when did the Soviets conduct this abduction. What was the strength of the Soviet unit? Was this a regular Red Army rifle unit or maybe a carefully selected NKVD border guard unit?

Also does anyone know if there were any other border incidents taking place in the Petsamo area in 1920-1939?

Yours sincerly,

Klemen

p.s.
Meanwhile, while you are in a pursue for Veikko Salkio's book, I am going back to the frontline to defend the Finland's honour at Petsamo :wink: - - -> http://www.ee.oulu.fi/~hasimone/petsamo/petsamo.htm

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Post by Juha Hujanen » 10 Mar 2004 15:44

Sorry Harri,i was unable to find CO of 3rd Company.And i haven't read "Luton Miehet" book.

Cheers/Juha

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Re: Veikko Salkio & Pummanki 1939

Post by Juha Tompuri » 15 Apr 2013 17:33

Veikko Salkio's memorial exhibition Haikarapahta

10.4.1912 Ernst Veikko Olavi Salkio is born in Ruokolahti, in eastern Finland. He is interested in nature as a child. At the age of 15 he prepares his first bird, a woodcock. He examines books written by Einari Merikallio and becomes inspired of Heinäsaaret islands in Petsamo. On these bird islands there were two frontier guards to ensure the safety of the nesting time of the birds in summer. “I had to get to Heinäsaaret.”

20.5.1936 “My happiness was immeasurable when I awakened under the deck of the “warship” Turja when it stopped. I rushed up to the deck –and there it was.” Now he is one of the two men at the islands Heinäsaaret. “A magnicent summer.”

1937 Salkio is stationed in Kalastajasaarento, Pummanki village. He livesin a chamber in Törmälä house, where he prepares birds and for instance a fox and a seal on leisure time.

18.2.1938 Ten nature conservation areas are set up in Finland, three of them in Petsamo. The care of the areas is given to the Finnish Forest Research Institute. Veikko Salkio moves to its employment. He acts as a gamekeeper in all the three areas in Petsamo: “Even hundreds of years later the great cormorants would be in peace from us people”.

The first national park of the world (Yellowstone) was set up in the United States in 1872. The idea of national parks spread to Finland in 1880. The nature conservation law, which came into force in 1923, made contributions to the conservation work; At that time the post of a nature conservation attendant was established. In summer 1925 a professor of botany Kaarlo Linkola made a journey to Northern Finland in order to prepare a proposal of preservation areas.

70 years ago, 18.2.1938, The Parliament passed an act to set up nature conservation areas on public domain. At that time were founded four national parks: Pallas-Ounastunturi, Pyhätunturi, Heinäsaaret and Stora Träskö, and six nature parks: Kutsajoki, Pisavaara, Mallatunturi, Pääskyspahta, Pummangin niemi and Hiisijärvi. The areas were under the authority of the Forestrial Research Institute (now Finnish Forest Research Institute).

The nature conservation plan aimed at preserving the original nature and landscape, the protection of natural resources and sources of raw materials. The national parks also acted as objects of research for scientists and recreational areas for backpackers.

The mounting of animals was a life-long hobby of Veikko Salkio. As a result, three collections were created. The first one was left in Petsamo, second in Rovaniemi and the latest was opened in Kokkola in January 1982. The present building for the collection was completed in 2000.

The city of Kokkola made it possible to complement and develop the collection. Veikko Salkio worked for the city as the caretaker of the collection until his death in 29.7.2006. His goal was a perfect collection of Finnish birds and mammals. Every animal is set up in its natural position and environment. They tell a story in which Veikko Salkio has included a piece of nature, a piece of himself.

Image Veikko Salkio on the island Heinäsaari in 1936
https://www.kokkola.fi/kulttuuri/luonto ... onayttely/
https://www.kokkola.fi/kulttuuri/luonto ... ko_salkio/

Veikko Salkio's Nature Collection:
http://www.discoveringfinland.com/produ ... ction/672/

Regards, Juha
Last edited by Juha Tompuri on 15 Apr 2013 17:40, edited 1 time in total.

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