Help me find this specific geographical place in Finland

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PeterSejrKruse
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:50 pm

Help me find this specific geographical place in Finland

Post by PeterSejrKruse » Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:29 pm

Dear members of this forum

I am writing this post here in the hope that somebody can help me find a specific place in a region that earlier was part of Finland but now belongs to Russia - the Viipuri bay region. But first I will explain why I am looking for this place - it could be that some of you could be helpful with more that this geographical issue.

My grandmother Terttu Saarimäki, born 1935 and died in 2008, was born in Töysä, Finland. However, she was sent to Denmark along with her brother Esko either during the Winter War or the ensuing Continuation War - I am not sure which one. Eventually my grandmother ended up staying in Denmark even after hostilities ended in Finland. Later she would marry a Danish man, my grandfather, and have my mother in 1960. Thus, I have partly Finnish blood in my veins, and I am quite interested in what happened to my Finnish family. I am especially interested in what happened to my great grandfather, Heikki Alfred Saarimäki, who fought as a corporal in the Finnish army during the Winter War. I have found some information about him on the Finnish National Archive's website, but I have trouble translating and understanding the information. I thought that some of you might help me. Here is the information I have found ( http://kronos.narc.fi/menehtyneet/index ... raportti=1 ):

"Näytä hakuehdot
[ Tulostettava versio (uuteen ikkunaan) ]
1: SAARIMÄKI, HEIKKI ALFRED
sääty naimisissa
sukupuoli mies
kansalaisuus FI
kansallisuus FI
äidinkieli suomi
lasten lukumäärä 2
ammatti maanviljelijä
sotilasarvo alikersantti
joukko-osasto 1./JR 11
joukko-osastokoodi
syntymäaika 09.04.1911
synnyinkunta Töysä
kotikunta Helsingin mlk
asuinkunta Helsingin mlk
haavoittumisaika
haavoittumispaikka
haavoittumiskunta
katoamisaika 06.03.1940
katoamispaikka Niskapohja
katoamiskunta Säkkijärvi
kuolinaika 06.03.1940
kuolinpaikka
kuolinkunta
Menehtymisluokka kadonnut, julistettu virallisesti kuolleeksi
hautauskunta Vantaa
hautausmaa Vantaa, Helsingin pitäjän kirkon hautausmaa
lisätieto "

I hope that some of you might be able to translate this to English properly (hopefully better than Google Translate). Also - talking about the geography - As far as I can understand, my great grandfather Heikki went missing in the municipal district of Säkkijärvi on the 6th of March 1940, but more precisely he was reported missing at a place with the name "Niskapohja". I have not been able to find this place Niskapohja, but I am extremely interested in finding out where it is and what might have happened to him. I know that he was probably killed in action since the area of Viipuri bay was among the most heavily contested areas of the Winter War, but it would be interesting if I could find out where exactly. Anybody up for helping me?

Best regards and thanks in advance,

Peter Sejr Kruse, Copenhagen, Denmark



Help me find this specific geographical place in Finland

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Jukka Aho
Posts: 5238
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:46 am
Location: Espoo, Finland

Re: Help me find this specific geographical place in Finland

Post by Jukka Aho » Mon Jul 11, 2016 3:11 am

PeterSejrKruse wrote:sukupuoli mies
Sex: male
PeterSejrKruse wrote:kansalaisuus FI
Citizenship: FI
PeterSejrKruse wrote:kansallisuus FI
Nationality(/Ethnicity?): FI
PeterSejrKruse wrote:äidinkieli suomi
Mother tongue / Native language: Finnish
PeterSejrKruse wrote:lasten lukumäärä 2
Number of children: 2
PeterSejrKruse wrote:ammatti maanviljelijä
Occupation: farmer
PeterSejrKruse wrote:sotilasarvo alikersantti
Military rank: corporal
PeterSejrKruse wrote:joukko-osasto 1./JR 11
Unit: 1./JR 11
PeterSejrKruse wrote:joukko-osastokoodi
Unit code: -
PeterSejrKruse wrote:syntymäaika 09.04.1911
Born: April 9th, 1911
PeterSejrKruse wrote:synnyinkunta Töysä
Birth municipality: Töysä
PeterSejrKruse wrote:kotikunta Helsingin mlk
Place of domicile: Rural Municipality of Helsinki (now known as Vantaa; not the same as Helsinki proper in the modern sense)
PeterSejrKruse wrote:asuinkunta Helsingin mlk
Place of residence: Rural Municipality of Helsinki (see above)
PeterSejrKruse wrote:haavoittumisaika
haavoittumispaikka
haavoittumiskunta
Time of injury: -
Location where stationed when the injury took place: -
Municipality where stationed when the injury took place: -
PeterSejrKruse wrote:katoamisaika 06.03.1940
katoamispaikka Niskapohja
katoamiskunta Säkkijärvi
Time when last seen: March 6th, 1940
Place where last seen: Niskapohja
Municipality where last seen: Säkkijärvi
PeterSejrKruse wrote:kuolinaika 06.03.1940
kuolinpaikka
kuolinkunta
Menehtymisluokka kadonnut, julistettu virallisesti kuolleeksi
Time of death: March 6th, 1940
Municipality where died: -
Class of death: Missing in action; officially pronounced dead
PeterSejrKruse wrote:hautauskunta Vantaa
hautausmaa Vantaa, Helsingin pitäjän kirkon hautausmaa
lisätieto
Place of burial [probably more like "place where the memorial headstone is located" in this case]: Vantaa
Graveyard: Vantaa, Helsingin pitäjän kirkon hautausmaa
Additional notes: -
PeterSejrKruse wrote:he was reported missing at a place with the name "Niskapohja". I have not been able to find this place Niskapohja, but I am extremely interested in finding out where it is and what might have happened to him. I know that he was probably killed in action since the area of Viipuri bay was among the most heavily contested areas of the Winter War, but it would be interesting if I could find out where exactly. Anybody up for helping me?
I can't find that place name on the old maps, either (this is the best one I found), but it seems someone has uploaded images of the area to Panoramio, and some of those images are tagged with the text "Niskapohja", so that could be a lead:

http://www.panoramio.com/map/#lt=60.650 ... b=1&pl=all

Click on the thumbnail of a large rock roughly in the middle of that map, and also the two images to the right of that.There are altogether three images tagged with the text "Niskapohja". When comparing to the old maps, the location where those photos were taken seems to be near the villages which were part of the municipality of Säkkijärvi and originally called Nisalahti and Iivanala. You can find both marked on the old maps.

Surely there must be even more detailed old maps of the area in the National Archives or somewhere, but I could not source anything better of the Säkkijärvi municipality on the Internet.

Maybe the Säkkijärvi heritage association could also be of some help:

https://www.facebook.com/suomen.sakkijarviseura

I'm not sure how active they are as I do not have a Facebook account myself and the page does not seem to reveal anything to outsiders. :P
Last edited by Jukka Aho on Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
znark


Jukka Aho
Posts: 5238
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:46 am
Location: Espoo, Finland

Re: Help me find this specific geographical place in Finland

Post by Jukka Aho » Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:00 am

There's a "Winter War, day by day" thread on this forum which you might find interesting:

http://www.subsim.com/radioroom/showthr ... st_2387019
znark


Jukka Aho
Posts: 5238
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:46 am
Location: Espoo, Finland

Re: Help me find this specific geographical place in Finland

Post by Jukka Aho » Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:39 am

OK, I found a map which confirms the location. See page 4 of this PDF:

http://kansataisteli.sshs.fi/Tekstit/19 ... 2_1986.pdf

Note that the locations where your great-grandfather's division, JR 11, and unit (I/11) were stationed, are also marked on that map.

The story to which that map is attached appears to be written by a Winter War veteran who participated in the battlefield action in that area on exactly the days when your great-grandfather went missing.

There's also another issue of the same magazine here, with another Winter War veteran reminiscing about the events in that area on p. 7 of the PDF:

http://kansataisteli.sshs.fi/Tekstit/19 ... 3_1984.pdf
znark


PeterSejrKruse
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:50 pm

Re: Help me find this specific geographical place in Finland

Post by PeterSejrKruse » Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:49 am

Thank you so much Jukka Aho! Your help is much appreciated! I am looking forward to looking into all this new information as soon as possible.


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Pursuivant
Posts: 15094
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:51 am
Location: Bath & Wells

Re: Help me find this specific geographical place in Finland

Post by Pursuivant » Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:33 pm

Säkkijärvi and Niskapohja are words 'ringing a bell' , my dad had a huge day-by-day book on the Winter War that I read as a kid (not understanding half), but it sparked my interest in history.

OK, so your grandfather was "lost in field" which means the remains weren't found. Finns have had the habit of transporting the dead "home" vs. battleground cemetaries, which theres volunteers still going through the battle sites in Karelia and repatriating the remains. Usually, and I am reading maybe the 'declared' dates too much, this was a direct artillery hit so a platoon 'vanished' and the witnesses went to a big crater and there wasn't anything to send home :(
"By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes."


Jukka Aho
Posts: 5238
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:46 am
Location: Espoo, Finland

Re: Help me find this specific geographical place in Finland

Post by Jukka Aho » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:49 am

They had dog tags so theoretically someone could still come across that in the woods, just by accident, or by deliberately using a metal detector... (and not only theoretically), but the chances of finding the dog tag of a single missing soldier are vanishingly small and the tag itself might not have survived, either.
znark


PeterSejrKruse
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:50 pm

Re: Help me find this specific geographical place in Finland

Post by PeterSejrKruse » Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:09 am

Thanks for your replies guys. I have of course had the thought that Heikki was killed due to Soviet artillery bombardents or other such instances. I would like to go to the Niskapohja area some day to see where he was lost. I'm not sure I would bring a metal detector though. It would probably be more important to me to just experience the area. I read somewhere that some Finnish guides offer trips to the area around Viipuri. Do you know anything about that?

By the way Jukka - about the articles in Finnish that you linked to me - the map on page 4 in the first article was a nice sight since I finally laid eyes on the actual area of Niskapohja. But - do you know somewhere I could find the articles translated into English or do you know someone who would or could translate them for me? I am really interested in reading them but I do not understand Finnish.


Jukka Aho
Posts: 5238
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:46 am
Location: Espoo, Finland

Re: Help me find this specific geographical place in Finland

Post by Jukka Aho » Sat Jul 16, 2016 3:35 pm

PeterSejrKruse wrote:I would like to go to the Niskapohja area some day to see where he was lost. I'm not sure I would bring a metal detector though. It would probably be more important to me to just experience the area. I read somewhere that some Finnish guides offer trips to the area around Viipuri. Do you know anything about that?
There’s an organization called Säkkijärvi-säätiö (“The Säkkijärvi Foundation”) which arranges trips to that locale. According to their website, the trips typically consist of visiting the sites of the battles, learning about the history and heritage of the area as it existed before the wars, maybe visiting the former possessions of your family (if your family originated from there), laying wreaths on memorials, spending some time in Vyborg etc.

The site suggests they have several such trips planned, coming up, or already done. Alas, you’re probably a bit late if you’d like to participate this summer, but it seems they’re fairly active so I guess there's a fairly good chance they will be arranging several such trips next summer as well. Maybe you would like to contact these two persons who seem to be mentioned in the contact details, and ask them about the forthcoming trips, or even suggest arranging a trip which would cover that particular location (Niskapohja):

Pekka Tommiska
Tel: +358 40 826 8799
Email: [email protected]

Eila Kauppinen
Tel: +358 40 701 5445
Email: [email protected]
PeterSejrKruse wrote:By the way Jukka - about the articles in Finnish that you linked to me - the map on page 4 in the first article was a nice sight since I finally laid eyes on the actual area of Niskapohja. But - do you know somewhere I could find the articles translated into English or do you know someone who would or could translate them for me? I am really interested in reading them but I do not understand Finnish
There are various commercial translation services on the web. Some of them advertise as being in the “budget” category. Maybe you’d like to ask a quote from these guys or google around a bit for others; I just found these by doing a quick search myself:

http://www.nordictrans.com/prices/
http://www.budgettranslations.com/da-DK_Home.htm
http://www.translated.net/en/ (trying out different language pairs, Finnish-to-Danish seems to be more expensive than Finnish-to-English)

The related article, titled Viimeisellä linjalla, spans from p. 4 to p. 7 of the PDF (40—43 in the original page numbering.) The text of the article begins in the column next to the map.

I guess translating it all, interspersed ads not withstanding, would set you back for something like 50 to 90 euros.
znark


blimp
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:59 am

Re: Help me find this specific geographical place in Finland

Post by blimp » Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:52 pm

PeterSejrKruse wrote: "
1: SAARIMÄKI, HEIKKI ALFRED

sotilasarvo alikersantti
joukko-osasto 1./JR 11

katoamisaika 06.03.1940
katoamispaikka Niskapohja
katoamiskunta Säkkijärvi
kuolinaika 06.03.1940
1./JR 11 means the first company of the Infantry Regiment 11. The Finnish Winter War era infantry regiments were three battalion regiments with the infantry companies in the first battalion numbered 1., 2. and 3. company. Therefore, your great grandfather served in the 1. infantry company of the first battalion of the Infantry Regiment 11. Infantry Regiment 11 was nick named "Ässärykmentti", the Ace Regiment, and it consisted of reservists from Kallio and Sörnäinen in Helsinki. The regiment was one of the three infantry regiments of the Winter War era 4th Infantry Division. At the start of the Winter War, the 4th Division was stationed east of Viipuri in a 25 km wide sector between Makslahti (Glebytševo) and Johannes (Sovetski). At this time, the IR 11 was holding a sector in Hatjalahti (Aleksandrovka). The IR 11 held their positions there until February 1940, when they retreated to new positions in Uuras (Vysotsk) in the bay of Viipuri. The 4th Division held the bay of Viipuri area until the end of the war.

The war diaries of Winter War era Finnish Military units have been digitized online. The war diary of the first battalion of the Infantry Regiment 11 from the time of your great grandfathers disappearance can be found here: http://digi.narc.fi/digi/view.ka?kuid=1491665

The March 6th 1940 entry in Finnish is:

"Sää: pilvistä kaak tuuli
Yö ollut verrattain rauhallista.
06.00 Alkoi vih lentotoiminta
1K:n lohkolla alkoi vih rynnistykset uudelleen.
12.00 Haavoittui Luutn Lahtinen(?), hänen tilalleen lähti kapt Ilvonen(?) järjestämään tilannetta
Vih oli päässyt maihin 1K:n lohkolla ja on toistaiseksi siellä.
Rykmentistä tuli apua ja jäi vih rynnistykset eteenpäin tuloksetta
Päivän tappioista mainittakoon 5 kk.
Vih kovasta painostuksesta huolimatta pitävät poikamme vaikka hyvin uupuneina asemiamme.
Vih lentotoiminta ollut hyvin vilkas koko päivän."

In English:
"Weather: cloudy south-east wind
Night has been relatively peaceful.
06.00 Started enemy air activity
1st company sector enemy assaults began again.
12.00 Ltn Lahtinen(?) was wounded, capt Ilvonen(?) went to replace him to clear the situation
Enemy has landed on 1st company sector and remains there.
The regiment sent help and the enemy assaults were left without results.
Casualties include 5 machine guns.
Despite heavy enemy pressure our boys kept our positions despite being well exhausted.
Enemy air activity has been very lively the whole day."

It is possible to order a copy of your great grandfathers military records from here: http://www.arkisto.fi/sv/tjanster/selvi ... t-stamkort . The service records may have a bit more information about your great grandfathers service history.


PeterSejrKruse
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:50 pm

Re: Help me find this specific geographical place in Finland

Post by PeterSejrKruse » Thu Aug 11, 2016 5:55 pm

Thanks to all of you! I will try to order a copy of my grandfathers military records from the website you mention, blimp.

I will let you know if I find something interesting - and also your help might be in demand later on if I find something puzzling, which is likely. :-)

- Peter


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