Thursday, 21 March 2019

The circle closes

By Lasse Nyman

Childhood memories,

One of my grandfather’s best friends served in long-range reconnaissance troops 1940-44 and those stories about sabotage and guerrilla warfare operations behind enemy lines were part of my childhood.

A Finnish long-range recoinnassance troop advances in 1941. Photo SA-kuva.

Years passed by, but those stories always stayed in my mind – I remember most of the names, places and the “little boys” excitement that I used to feel when I listened to those stories.
A couple weeks ago we were, once again, in The National Archives of Finland searching for information about Finnish MIA soldiers. We were looking for pieces of the puzzle, that would guide us in the footsteps of those fallen soldiers. After documenting hundreds of pages, I saw one familiar name – a name that was familiar to me from those stories that I listen to as a child. A name that I remember most likely will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Interrogation form April 9th 1945 in the National Archives. Photo Lasse Nyman

That soldier served in long-range reconnaissance troops, with that friend of my grandfather.  He died behind enemy lines in the summer of 1944. One soldier was from that same group was badly injured and captured as a prisoner of war in that same situation.

After the war, POW’s were returned back to Finland and that one soldier who was badly injured and captured was one of them. After reading his interrogation files, I realized that I know that exact place where those files were written. It is one of those "Durchgangslager Hanko" barracks on Cape Tulliniemi which we have researched archaeologically since 2015. 

Interrogation barrack in former "Durchgangslager Hanko". Photo Jan Fast 

Sometimes life guides you back to those childhood memories, in a way that you would never guess - From childhood memories to Karelian Isthmus and back to "Durchgangslager Hanko".

Original lightpost of the interrogation barrack. Photo Jan Fast.

There’s one more thing to do though, that one lost soldier still needs to be found.

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