The Finnish SS volunteer battalion in its poignant good-bye march in Ruhpolding, Upper Bavaria, Germany, June 1943. The battalion had suffered huge losses in battles and was being disbanded. About 800 heroic volunteers -- out of 1200 -- died or were wounded battling against Bolshevism.
Lauri Törni Joins "A Few Good Men..."
-- in the Waffen-SS --
in January 194--5!
by Henrik Holappa of Finland, former Finnish Army,
now in Pittsburgh with John de Nugent
The Finnish SS battalion received constant praise and appreciation from the German commanders of the legendary Waffen-SS. SS-Gruppenfuehrer Gottlob Berger, chief of the SS-Hauptamt, praised the Finnish SS volunteer battalion with the words:
Gruppenfuehrer Gottlob Berger (1896-1975). After the war he was accused of war crimes and was sentenced to 26 years in prison -- but was released in 1951. After the war Berger worked on the staff of the nationalist journal “Nation Europa.”
“I've never had any better battalion.”
The SS-Viking division commander, Obergruppenfuehrer
(General der Waffen-SS) Felix Steiner, was so impressed of the Finnish SS volunteers that he personally shook hands with each and every Finnish SS soldier -- and awarded the volunteers the 1st or 2nd class Iron Cross. After the war Steiner was found not guilty of any war crime and released in 1948. Steiner still kept in contact with his Finnish SS-volunteers and twice visited Finland in the 1950's to see his old brothers-in-arms. Steiner died in 1966.
The commander and the fighters. General Steiner shaking hands with Finnish volunteers in June 1943. To his right is the battalion commander, Colonel Hans Collani. He was killed in action in Estonia in 1944. Collani is buried in a German military cemetary in Tallinn, Estonia, a Baltic nation just south of Finland.
Lauri Törni [pron. "Lowrey Turney"] goes back to Germany
The War between Finland and Soviet Union had ended in September 1944. Captain Törni was discharged from the army after six years of service. The legendary platoon leader and commander was now without any work. Törni was wandering around Finland after the war. He had lost his home in Vyborg (now Soviet) and he really had no good civilian education. All he had ever wanted to be was a soldier. Because of the peace treaty with the Soviets former SS soldiers were not allowed to work in governmental offices. The Soviets did not trust men trained in Germany and fighters against the Soviets wearing the SS-uniform.
Lauri Törni could not accept the fact that -- for Finland -- the war was over. He strongly believed the war could have been won by cooperating totally with the Germans, but instead of fighting in Karelia (the Finnish area Stalin had ripped away from the Finns), Marshal Mannerheim and the Finnish army had switched sides and even started waging war against their erstwhile German allies up in Lapland (in northern Finland) – albeit they did so only under massive Soviet pressure. (Stalin in early October '44: "If you do not attack the Germans in Lapland within 48 hours, the Red Army will enter Finland to help you.")
In the fall of 1944 the Germans were leaving his country via southern Finland and offered to help any Finn as they could. The German Gestapo officers promised to take as many Finnish volunteers to Germany with them as wanted to join. The decision wasn't difficult for Törni. Törni left his parent's house in Vaasa and arrived in the capital, Helsinki where he and his former SS friend Jalo Korpela were recruited by the Finnish Gestapo contact John Artur Hjörklund. On the 23rd of January 1945 Törni and 20 other Finnish SS-volunteers stepped into a Kriegsmarine
submarine that would take them to Germany.
Plans to liberate Finland
During the Lapland war it was widely thought that when the Germans left northern Finland, the Soviets would invade this area (called Lapland for the semi-Asiatic people who live up there), because it was still a strategically important area. Even before the Lapland War Germany's foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler had negotiated with some high-ranking Finnish officers, such as Lieutenant Colonel Fabritius, to start up an armed resistance movement against the Soviets in Finland should the USSR occupy the country.
The Lapplanders, a white people with some Asian blood, speaking a Finno-Ugrian language, inhabit much of the sparsely populated north of Scandinavia. They herd reindeer, keep to themselves, and get along well with the Norwegians, Swedes and Finns to their south.
The RSHA (Reichssicherheitshauptamt
, "Reich Security Head Office") agreed to recruit Finns to organize sabotage and spy activities against Soviet military forces. In the RSHA a plan was even afoot to make Finland the last nest of National Socialist resistance, and a location that could also offer shelter to some National Socialist leaders.
(This information comes from Suomen Kuvalehti
[“Finnish Picture”] magazine (like the old “Life” magazine), which published an article about Törni and his part in organizing a resistance movement in Finland (Week 37/2003). According to this magazine, Törni met with Ribbentrop and the Germans were willing to appoint Captain Törni as the head of the entire resistance movement in Finland.
In February 1945 Törni and 30 other Finns started their training in a newly formed special unit called “Sonderkommando Nord” in Heringsdorf on the Baltic. Törni and the others got trained for counter-intelligence, sending Morse messages and handling powerful explosives and weapons. All soldiers got NCO training although most of the volunteers were young men with no previous war experience.
After the training the Finns were sent to the legendary SS Major Otto Skorzeny's “Jagdregiment 1”. The regiment was famous for its operation that liberated Benito Mussolini. Untersturmfuehrer Törni was now responsible for training the new recruits, who were mainly Finnish POWs captured by Germans in the Lapland War, Finns who had changed sides because they were sick of having to obey orders to shoot, on Soviet demand, at the Germans, their former brothers-in-arms for years. The Soviet invasion in the east forced the training center in Heringsdorf to be moved to the Danish border in Flensburg.
Skorzeny, the greatest commando who ever lived.
Törni felt frustration. He wanted action. He was discussing Germany's military situation with the Finnish resistance contact, Lieutenant Colonel Fabritius. Fabritius told Törni the situation at the front was “chaotic.” Fabritius was still negotiating with General Kaltenbrunner about anti-Soviet activities and resistance in Finland. Fabritius went back to Finland together with his German Gestapo contact. Fabritius was arrested later for being pro-German and he died in a Finnish prison in 1946.
Törni volunteered for the front with his old SS comrade Korpela. They were sent to the “eastern front” -- which then, sadly, was east of Berlin. But Törni was eager to get some last blows in against Bolshevism.
Berlin April–May 1945, and the return to Finland
Lauri Törni and Korpela reported for military service directly to SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Felix Steiner. On the 15th of April Steiner appointed Törni a Hauptsturmfuehrer (captain). Korpela was not appointed. The defenders of Berlin had a terrible lack of weapons; Törni and Korpela were only given pistols, rifles and one submachine gun. Törni was in charge of an SS company of about 300 men. Törni and his company were fighting on the north side of Berlin near Schwerin. On the 25th of April Russian troops broke through in Nauen, and Berlin and its outlying areas were now about to be encircled by a huge Soviet army. Törni and his company withdrew to a small town called Pritzwalk, with the Russians after them. In Pritzwalk Törni had a combat encounter with the Russians, but he led the company so well that it gave him and the company time to withdrew to Hagenow. The Russians then encircled Törni and his company in Hagenow.
On 3rd of May Törni heard of Hitler's death.
The last picture of Hitler: Berlin, 30th of April 1945.
The company decided on one last combat operation – to break through the Russian lines. The break-out was successful, but then they ran into American paratroopers on the west of Berlin who captured Törni and his company. Lauri Törni's war for Berlin was now over. His company had not suffered huge losses, but it had killed many raping Bolsheviks.
True brotherhood. SS soldiers helping a comrade during battle somewhere on the eastern front in August 1944.
The Americans handed Törni and Korpela over to the British army, because Great Britain and Finland were still in war. They were sent to Oldenburg with German prisoners of war. Törni did not plan to stay for a long time in the hands of his enemies and after few nights observing the British and their guard practices, Törni made his move and with Korpela escaped from the camp.
The red flag over Berlin in April 1945. The picture had to be manipulated after it was taken. The soldiers' wrists and hands were full of stolen watches from dead German soldiers. The soldier who raised the Soviet flag was from Kazakhstan and not an ethnic Russian.
About 100,000 women in Berlin were raped, most of them several times. British historian Anthony Beevor
described it as the biggest “rape war” ever. Almost half the rapists were not Russians, but yellow-skinned and slant-eyed men from the Caucasus mountains and beyond. The Soviet propaganda minister, Jew, Ilya Ehrenburg (1891-1967) encouraged them to rape the “blond witches” and break the “racial pride of the Germanic woman.”
Ilya Ehrenburg, Ernest Hemingway and German communist writer Gustav Regler, in 1937, a communist political commissar, during the Spanish Civil War. Regler collaborated with the Jew Willi Muenzenberg [“Coin Mountain” in Yiddish] to produce the 1933 Brown Book of the Reichstag Fire and the Hitler Terror, which falsely accused Hitler of ordering the fire. Even anti-Hitler historians now consider the book a worthless piece of defamation.
Again Törni was in a situation where he had to abandon a city he cared about to murdering Bolshevists, twice his home city of Vyborg and now the capital of the German Reich, Berlin. However, Törni was not sure what kind of welcome home he would get in Finland. With the help of various Germans Törni and Korpela got to Copenhagen and were able to get fake IDs and find a ship heading for the city of Turku in Finland. From Turku Törni moved to Helsinki and worked in a electric company that was owned by former SS soldiers and members of the resistance.
However, in the meanwhile the communist police VALPO (State Police) had gotten wind of Törni's return and of Waffen-SS soldiers planning resistance to Soviet forces. Soon VALPO was ready to take action against the “traitors.”
Lauri Törni's story (later that of “Larry Thorne, US Army Special Forces) will be continued. . . .
* * *
Some Finns of the Viking Division. . .
About 1,400 Finns volunteered for the Waffen-SS between the years 1941-43 and 1944-45. Few soldiers who decided to stay in the Waffen-SS after 1944 could ever go back home to Finland after the war, because they were henceforth to considered to be “traitors.” They had in fact disobeyed orders to not come home to the Finnish Army or be discharged; after January 1945 there really was a small, albeit reluctant war between the Germans and the Finns up in Lapland; and of course postwar Finland had to keep Stalin happy by persecuting the former Waffen-SS men -- or he might invade, occupy the country and deport hundreds of thousands of innocent Finns to Siberia as he had done to civilians and soldiers in the neighboring Baltic states.
Besides the Red Terror, Stalin could also have brought in Russians to settle in and colonize Finland, as was done with neighboring Estonia, whose capital Tallinn is in fact full of Russians. (They are 26 percent of the country.)
Many of these Finns who volunteered for the Waffen-SS had served with bravery in the Finnish army during the Winter War of 1939-40, and for them it was a horrible to be classified by the postwar government as a “traitor” to the country they had loved and fought for.
One of the famous Finnish Waffen-SS-soldier was Ulf-Ola Olin.
SS-Obersturmfuehrer Ulf-Ola Olin. Finnish army officer, 2nd lieutenant, born in 1917. Like many Finnish men, he served in the Winter War of 1939-40, then volunteered for the Waffen-SS in 1941 and decided to stay in the SS until the end. He commanded the 5th Panzer battalion of the Viking-SS division.
He was.awarded the Iron Cross, first class, second class and the one of the highest medals of all, the German Cross in Gold. Olin led tanks in many famous battles against the Soviets on th eastern front in 1945, never losing his tank. After the war he was a POW and was declared a “traitor” by the postwar Helsinki government. He decided to stay in Germany and married a German woman. He finally visited Finland again in 1968, but returned to Germany, and he stayed loyal and active in the postwar SS soldiers' organization HIAG. He died in 1995 and was buried in Kassel.
The German Cross in Gold
SS-Untersturmfuehrer Unto Parvilahti was a true “political soldier” in the Finnish SS battalion. He was openly a National Socialist and ended his letters with the sacred words: “Heil Hitler.” Parvilahti also created plans for a Greater Finland (which, like Greater Germany, would reunite all who spoke the mother tongue), and he disagreed with Finnish Army HQ on how things were performed. Parvilahti openly said the Finns should cut off the Murman railway (from the vital Soviet port of Murmansk to Leningrad).and attack Leningrad from the north while the Germans were doing so from the south (which Marshall Mannerheim refused to do).
After the war the Soviets captured Parvilahti and he spent 10 years in the gulag in Siberia. With strong sisu
(Finnish for "toughness and bravery") Parvilahti survived the prisoner camps and came back to Finland. He was not, however, pleased with the political situation and moved to Spain, dying in Malaga in 1970 (where his neighbor was Belgian Waffen-SS general Leon Degrelle. Later the heroic Austrian revisionist Gerd Honsik lived in Malaga, now bravely facing 20 years in prison for his poems and books after his extradition back to Austria.)
SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Jouko Itälä in his office in the Waffen-SS HQ in Berlin.
Itälä [pronounced “EE-tell-eh”] was one of the few high-ranking Finnish officers who stayed in the SS after 1943. After the war he was a prisoner of the Russians. His fate is unknown.
SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Kalervo Kurkiala, the Father of the Finnish SS battalion.
Kurkiala was an admired and appreciated man among the Finnish volunteers and among the Germans. One of the Finnish volunteers described his amazing spirit with the words: “His presence gave us the strength to stand the pressure of hard military service so far from home.” He stayed in Germany till the end and was captured by the Soviets. After his time in a POW camp he moved to Sweden and died in the 1970s.
Welcome to the Eternal brotherhood! Finnish Waffen-SS volunteers in 1943.
Over time those soldiers have been forgotten, and were despised by the government. Many of the SS soldiers had only each other after the war, and the brotherhood and friendship that were born in the horrors of the front.
Although few are still with us now, they always stood in the front lines of the race war, defending Europe, Europeans and European-Americans. Postwar governments betrayed them, but they have stayed loyal to their oath.
In these moments I can only salute those brave men with the words:
Kunniaa ja Arvostusta Waffen-SS:lle! (in Finnish)
Ruhm und Ehre der Waffen-SS (in German)
Honor and Glory to the Waffen-SS!
"The Waffen-SS units were the most feared divisions in history.” (The History Channel)
Next war is for white unity!
Kelts, Mediterraneans –