FINNISH-RUSSIAN WARS SPOTLIGHTED AT FINN FEST

            MARQUETTE – As part of Finn Grand Fest 2005 in Marquette August 10-14, Negaunee historian Jim Kippola has put together a tribute to the conflicts featuring war veterans, films, displays, demonstrations and authentic battlefront soup.

            The full schedule of these events is available at www.finngrandfest2005.com.

            Several films will be screened in Northern Michigan University's Jamrich Hall. These include the 1990 film Winter War based on the Antti Tuuri book; Ambush, about a Finnish patrol behind enemy lines; and Letters from Karelia, a riveting story of Canadian migrants to Karelia in the 1930s. A fourth feature, Fire and Ice, is a new Winter War documentary made for public television.

            Finnish war veterans and historians will lecture at Finn Fest. On Thursday, Viipuri resident Petteri Mokkonen will speak from 9-9:45 a.m. about his war-ravaged medieval Finnish city while Paul Lubotina will discuss Finnish-American relations in World War II from 11-11:45 a.m.  Saturday, Leo Vuosalo will be in the Superior Dome from 10 a.m. to noon and 1:30-4 p.m. recounting the amazing story of Finland's survival during World War II.

            The largest showing of Winter War/Continuation War artifacts ever assembled in North America will be on display in NMU’s PEIF Building Friday through Sunday, with material from five private collections of authentic uniforms, weapons, photographs, books, and story boards.

            Ray Nurmi of Marquette's Snowbound Books will also display part of his vintage collection of 250 Finnish War books at the PEIF.

            Outside the Superior Dome, there will be a military bunker, uniformed military re-enactors, and an authentic 1936 field kitchen where Winter/Continuation War veteran Arne Altonen will dish out his Finnish pea soup.

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            At the Marquette Maritime Museum, visitors will learn of the little-known Finnish Navy Submarine Force.

            While World War II tied up countries on six continents, Finland – one of Europe’s smaller nations – was bloodying the Russian nose in two side wars in the far north. In the Winter War (1939-1940), Russia invaded Finland with expectations of a walkover. Outnumbered 15-1, the scrappy Finns taught the world the meaning of “sisu” for 105 days before succumbing. Russia's spoils included 22,000 square miles of Finland, but as a Russian general remarked, "We won enough ground to bury our dead." Of the 1.5 million Russian troops who attacked Finland, one million died, while the Finns had 80,000 casualties in a country of only four million. The following War of Continuation (1941-1944) saw the Finns recover the lost ground before the Russian colossus overwhelmed Finland, retook the land, and got $225 million in war reparations.



Prepared By
Larry Chabot
news_bureau