Eteläkarjalainen maisema

Eteläkarjalainen maisema
Tässä blogissa on sekä kuvia että tarinoita upean Etelä-Karjalan luonnosta, ihmisistä ja kulttuurista. Kuvassa syyskuinen näkymä Saimaan kanavan varrelta.

torstai 10. marraskuuta 2016

Enemies among us. "Desants" in Finland 1939 – 1944: Finnish American "Desants"

During this summer, I read an interesting book written by Atso Haapanen; Enemies among us. Desants in  Finland 1939 - 1944. In Finnish: Viholliset keskellämme. Desantit Suomessa 1939-1944.  When reading the book I was disrupted in some places because of its sloppy linguistic and other finalization. But, I read it to the end almost at the same time. The book contains a comprehensive knowledge and fates of people who were sent as spies to Finland during the Winter and Continuation Wars. In the book, which was published 2012, has been gathered documented information about all those individuals, which were convicted as spies or traitors and senteced to death or life at military courts. All together there were 785 indiviuals. Of them, 470 were executed, a life sentence were given to 144 and 171 were killed. The actual number of desants was much higher. Haapanen estimates their number was over a thousand. A number of convicted spies were given smaller penalties. In addition, six people sentenced to death, were pardoned at the end of the Winter War, one person sentenced to death died before the execution and the five spies died in an air raid in Mikkeli in 1940. In addition, in the period 1942-1944 four convicted committed suicide and one managed to escape. In the period 1943 - 1944 was pardoned seven people, who had earlier been sentenced to death. After the end of the fighting, the Ministry of Justice ordered, under Article 20 of the Armistice Agreement, to release 501 Finnish citizens and 192 citizens of the Soviet Union.

Finnish word desantti, ”desant”, (Rus. Десантник) is borrowed from Russian to the Finnish language. In Russian word means a parachute man. In Finnish language word desant is used  of parachute-trained men and women, which were dropped for espionage and sabotage missions behind the front lines during Winter and Continuation Wars. Among them, a significant part were Russians, but except people with Finnish background there were also a lot of Ingrians, Karelians, Estonians, and even Ukrainians. Only a small part of desants were well trained to their missions, Instead a significant part, especially at the beginning of the Continuation War, had been recruited or forced to their post after just a couple days quick training. Often desants were criminals or inmates, whome had been promised amnesty as a reward.  Desants were  promised salary in cash and they got money, among other things, for the recruitment of assistants. Desants came to areas controlled by Finnish government mainly by airplanes. Some of them also arrived by boat in the summer time and skiing in the winter time over the lakes of Onega (Ääninen) and Ladoga )Laatokka) and the Gulf of Finland.

Probably the biggest part of desants was quickly caught and almost always desants in plain clothes  were executed as spies. If desant had the Red Army uniform, he was considered to be scout / soldier and became POW. The line of judgments based on clothing, however, was not consistent , and desants, additionally,  had often mixed clothing, which could consist of up to three army’s uniforms. Desants were often sentenced at the field military courts, but also the High military court  treated them as a result of complaints made of the field military court’s convictions. It often changed at the filed military court given sentence from imprisonment to death penalty or vice versa. Death penaltys given by field military courts were executed right often within a few hours of pronouncement, or even immediately. Minors were often sentenced to 12 years in prison but also to shorter sentences. To the civilians who assisted  desants were given even shorter sentences. Punishments also contributed to spy’s willingness to cooperate. Some desants switched sides and was left completely without judgment. When Finnish troops retreated in June 1944 some of the captured desants were  left to the  prison camps in Eastern Karelia.

While reading I was filled with a strong feeling of pity. Many desants were originally from Finland. They were moved in 1918, in the aftermath of the Civil War or in the beginning of the 1930s, along with their parents to the Soviet Union, where they believed was a better chance of living. Because of their background and language skills they were pressured or even forced to spy against the former homeland.  Sure, some of them took part in the task of their own accord. Also, the fate of the Ingrian desants made my mind sad. They were also often forced to spy on the basis of the  language skills. Their fate was almost always death in front of the Finnish firing squad. The third group, whose fate pitied me, were American Finns. Their share of among desants is significant. A large proportion of them had moved with their parents from the USA or Canada to build a socialist ideal state. Some of them had been born in the United States and were nationals of it. Desants with the Canadian background had often lived only just a few years in the "New World", before they moved to the Soviet Union. I gathered the table below about the fate of the Finnish-American desants. In Haapanen's book there are also mentioned some other desants, which I assume, based on their names. beeing Finnish-Americans, but their background information  in the book is so comprehensively that you can not be sure.
War is brutal and especially the spy war.

date and place of birth
arres and conviction
Laine, Melvin Jalmar Antinpoika
22.11.1916 USA?
conviction and execution 1.12.1941

Lähdetkorpi, Viljam Eevert Einonpoika
14.7.1917 Kauhajoki, Finland
Arrested near Punkasalmi railway station 4.2.1940 fate unknown
Moved with his parents to Canada1926, in 1931 to Soviet Union, became Soviet citizen in 1935
Jurvanen, Tyke Olavi
31.12.1917 Fitchburg, MA, USA
Arrested in Karjalan kannas 3.1.1940. Died in Mikkeli 5.1.1940 in bombardment.

Mäenpää, Eino Henrik Juhonpoika
10.12.1897 Vaasa, Finland
Convicted 6.6.1941 in Vaasa Court of appeal for treason, sentence six yeras in prison

Moved to Canada in 1927, from there to Soviet Union in 1934. Made a spying trip to Norway, was convicted and senteced to prison for one year 28.4.1940 Escaped and returned to Soviet Union. Made October-November 1940 spying trip to Kemijärvi. New spying trip to  Kemijärvi in February 1941, crossed the border 14.2.19141, but was caught the next day
Saukko, Väinö Johannes Heikinpoika
20.10.1907 Kalajoki, Pitkäsen kylä, Finland
Arrested in Kesälahti 6.2.1941. Was convicted in Viipuri Court of Appeal of revealing of state secrets etc for years and 3 months in prison.
Muuttanut Kanadaan 1928 ja sieltä Neuvostoliittoon 1931
Mieskolainen, Alho Jeremiaanpoika
23.5.1905 Kangasniemi, Luusniemi, Finland
Arrested  20.2.1941 in Uukuniemi. Was sentenced to 7 years in prison due to collecting of state secrets ryhtymisestä, 7 vuotta kuritushuonetta
Moved to Canada in 1926, from where to Soviet Union  in 1931
Wentelä, Reino William
2.5.1917 Ontario, Kanada
Arrested in 21.8.1941. Was sentenced to death,  Execution 5.5.1942
Lived in Petroskoi. Made spying tri from Uhtua to Ristijärvi in July-Auugust 1940 ans in June-July in 1941 to Iisalmi, Kuopio and Kajaani.
Ojala, Robert Viktorinpoika
1.8.1914, Farmington, Maine, USA
Arrested 5.7.1941 in Padasjoki, Virmaila. deat sentence for spying, execution 10.8.1941
Ojala family moved in 1930 to Petroskoi, Soviet Union.
Rintala, Esko Kalle
4.6.1913 Norwood (MA?), USA
Aerrested in Luumäki, Marttila 22.8.1941. Senteced to death for spying, execution 11.9.1941
Lived in Petroskoi
Saari, Paavo Heikki
23.12.1914 Waukegan/Chicago, Illinois, USA
Arrested in Luumäki, Taavetti 23.8.1941, execution 11.9.1941
Moved with his parents in December 1931 through Sweden and Estonia to Soviet Union.
Niemi, Britta Vellamo Antintytär
9.12.1917, New York, USA
Arrested  Valkeasaari, Kaljala 18.9.1941. Death sentence for spying, execution  2.10.1941
Moved with his family to Soviet Union in 1931. Radio operator and physician in the Red Army. Her mother moved back from the Soviet Union, first to Finland in 1938 and later, in 1941, to the USA.
Mäkelä, Toivo Arvid Kallenpoika
6.9.1911 USA
Arrested 4.10.1941, death sentence for spying, execution 1.11.1941
Moved with his parents to Finland in 1917, back to the USA in 1929, and to the Soviet Union in 1932.
Hevosaho (Hästbacka), Viljam Hermanninpoika
14.7.1912 Evijärvi, Karttua, Finland
surrendered in Kendjärvi, death sentence for spying, execution 15.11.1941
Moved to Canada 1.1.1930, In December 1931 to the Soviet Union through Sweden and Estonia
Eskolin, Aarre
23.8.1916 Tampere, Finland
Arrested 16.4.1942, in Pitkäranta, Nieljärvi. death sentence for spying, execution 12.5.1942
Moved with his family to Canada in 1922and from there to the Soviet Union in 1932.
Nuorteva, Pentti Santerinpoika
25.9.1910 Tampere, Finland
Arrested by the lake Ääninen, near Limosaari death sentence for spying, execution 21.4.1942
His father Santeri Nuorteva moved to the USA in 1910, his family came year after. Father moved from the USA to the Soviet Union 1920, his family followed him in 1922.
Nuorteva, Matti Santeripoika, Pentti’s brother
27.7.1914 Fitchburg, MA, USA
see above
see above
Petäjä, Väinö
Member ofi his dasant group,  Juho Ishakov shoot his group leader Petäjä 16.10.1942 in Aunus during their spying mission
Finnish American
Sevander, Milton
18.6.1920 Eveleth, MN, USA
Arrested 11.11.1942 in Jouhivaara, Seesjärvi, death sentence for spying, execution 12.12.1942
Moved with his parents in 1931 to the Soviet Union. Participated in eating of his two patrol buddieson thei log spying patrol. His desant buddy Jaakko Anttila had killed them both
Nuorteva, Kerttu Santerintytär
10.11.19192 Astoria, Oregon, USA
Arrested 7.9.1941 in Helsinki. Death sentence for spying, but it was never implemented
She was sentenced back to the Soviet Union in October 1988. Got there ten years sentence.
Hellerström, Nestor
26.5.1906 Haparanda, Sweden
Arrested  29.8.1943 in Kuolemajärvi, Kirjola, apparently declared a prisoner of war
U.S.citizen, moved in the beginning of 1930s from the  USA to the Soviet Union.
 Suikkanen, Vilho
21.2.1924 New York
Arrested at Maaselkä railway station 8.7.1943. death sentence for spying, execution 19.8.1943
Moved with his family to the Soviet Union in 1930
Skoglund, Lenni
16.12.1921 Quincy, MA, USA
Arrested 1.5.1944 in Kuolemajärvi, Huumola railway station.  . death sentence for spying, execution 26.6.1944
Moved from the USA to the Soviet Union in  1931
Väisänen, Yrjö Juhonpoika
12.2.1904 Iisalmi, Finland
See above
Moved with his wife to Canada in 1930, from there to the Soviet Union, became citizen of Soviet union in 1933.

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