n May 1935, a temporary reserve prison was built in the Alkkia area of Karvia to house prisoners who would clear the expansive area of Alkkianneva for settlement. The Winter War took Finland by surprise, and the country was not prepared to place prisoners of war, so the decision was quickly made to set up separate prisoner of war camps in connection with existing prisons. POW camp No. 2 was set up in connection with the Karvia reserve prison. Soviet prisoners of war from the Winter War were returned in spring 1940. At that stage, the original work objective of the reserve prison had progressed as planned, and in 1940 a new order was given to cease operations at the prison. This order was not carried out, however, as a new war was looming and preparations were under way for a new POW problem. The War of Continuation saved the Karvia reserve prison from being shut down, as POW camp No. 2 was re-established there in August 1941. The camp was shut down in October 1941. The Karvia temporary reserve prison was permanently closed in December 1960 and the Finnish Forest Research Institute took possession of the land. After that time, a special work unit continued to work in the prison facilities until December 1969.
Alkkianneva was a large and barren bog transformed with prison labour into hundreds of hectares of farmland, now home to test woods planted by forest researchers. Simultaneously, the nearly-abandoned village of Alkkia became a community of hundreds in wartime and then reverted into a backwater after the prisoners had left.
Visiting the remaining buildings and ruins, we will trace the footsteps of convicts and prisoners of war over the decades to imagine what life was like during the war in a prisoner community with hundreds of inhabitants. The picture at the top is of the “Summa shop”, a reminder of Karelian evacuees. The prisoner-of-war camp is evidenced by the forest cemetery of Soviet prisoners of war, which is the final stop of the tour.
The tour will showcase the dramatic transformation of the Alkkia village in both inhabitants and milieu over the past hundred years.
Price: Basic price € 125 + € 15 / person. The price includes VAT at 24 %.
Max. group size 15 people.
Duration: 2 hours.