A tale from the Continuation War

Helsingin Sanomat has a lengthy story about a woman who left Finland when the Germans evacuated in 1944 during the Continuation War (well, probably more appropriately the Lapland War).

Kaisu’s friend, who worked as an interpreter, dated a German, and urged Kaisu to go as well. Then there was a belief that Finland would lose Lapland, that the country would be cut in half, and the Soviet Union would take Lapland as its own. Even the provincial governor said in a radio speech, that people were being evacuated from Lapland, possibly for the last time.

Not really a typical story of wartime (although, perhaps there is no ‘typical’ story) but it’s worth a look for it’s snapshot of being a guest worker in the waning days of the war.

She remembers the morning when the British arrived at the German barracks, where there were about 20 Finnish girls left, and three Germans. A gun was pointed at Kaisu.  She said that she had left Finland to get away from the Russians, but the British started to praise their allies. Kaisu was angry. She lashed out at the stupid British who prayed for the Russians in Westminster Abbey, even though the Russians didn’t even believe in God.  Then Kaisu felt a gun barrel against her chest. “Go ahead and shoot, I said.” But he didn’t.

Kaisu is a pretty opinionated woman and I can’t tell if she’s just demonstrating good old fashioned sisu or is a plain cranky:

She also did not want to go to Sweden, which she felt was a country of cowards.

“The only permanent thought has been that the worst fate of all for me would be for me to die in Southern Finland. If I die here in Helsinki, it would be God’s punishment”, she says. And then she laughs.


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