Evacuees and displaced settlers

Families of evacuees from Karelia moved to Alkkia during the war.

Resettlement of evacuees from Karelia

Finland was forced to cede parts of Karelia to the Soviet Union in the Winter War, and the population from these areas had to be resettled elsewhere in Finland. The Prompt Resettlement Act was passed in 1940 to resettle farming families from Karelia.

The idea was to assign land to displaced people based on their former municipalities, ensuring that the farming conditions would be similar to those in the lost areas and that communities could stay together.

Photo: Finnish Wartime Photograph Archive, evacuation in Sortavala

Evacuees from Summa

Karvia was one of the locations in which evacuees from Kuolemajärvi were resettled. The farming conditions were less benign in Karvia and Parkano than in the lost areas of Karelia, which is why few Karelians were resettled here.

Tuohisalo with its state-owned lands was the largest continuous area in Karvia in which evacuees were resettled. Initially, 15 families from the village of Summa in Kuolemajärvi were resettled in Tuohisalo. They started calling their new home Summa, too.

Photo: Finnish Heritage Agency-Finna, Karelian village in Kuolemajärvi

In addition to the main farm, resettlement plots were assigned more land further away. Tuohisalo resettlement plots were given additional land in state-owned areas in Rihkaa. These lands comprised uncleared and partly roadless areas at quite a distance from the main farm. The peaty Alkkianneva could offer few alternative locations for resettlement.

Photo: Finnish Heritage Agency-Finna, Finnish Forest Museum Lusto

Moving around

The population of the area changed later. Most people from the ceded areas in Karelia returned to their homes during the Interim Peace. At the end of the war, Karelia was again ceded to the Soviet Union, and the population had to be resettled a second time.

The plans for resettling the evacuees changed and the old communities were broken up, as some of these people had already been assigned farms earlier. Karelians from Hiitola, among others, were resettled in Karvia after the Continuation War. In addition to evacuees, people from other parts of Finland also moved to Alkkia.

Photo: N.A. Osara, Finnish Heritage Agency-Finna

Families of Summa

The Hietanen family, who had been resettled on Summa farm, remained in Karvia when some other families returned to Karelia for a while. They started a shop and sawmill in Summa. The neighbouring farm of Tuohisalo was empty for a while, until it was turned into a prisoner-of-war camp at the beginning of the Continuation War in 1941.

After the war the Tiainen family evacuated from Metsäpirtti ended up moving to Tuohisalo, whereas the Hietanen family moved on in 1954. Summa farm was sold to the Jaakkola family from Toijala.

The original purpose of Karvia temporary prison, or clearing resettlement plots for landless people, was not fulfilled as planned due to the war. In any case, the population of the area multiplied in the post-war years.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Summa’s store

Resettlement plots are abandoned and Alkkia is deserted

For many of the families who moved to the resettlement plots, either a family member working in the prison or, for example, selling goods to Summa shop was an important part of their livelihoods.

When the prison was closed down in the 1960s, many families moved away from Alkkia. The shop did less business and gradually ceased to operate. Families started abandoning the resettlement plots as they moved on to make a living somewhere else.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, on the Rihkaantie road

Text: Laura Puolamäki

Preparatory studies: landscape specialist Laura Puolamäki, ProAgria Southern Finland and Rural Women’s Advisory Organisation Southern Finland, university teacher Eeva Raike, Cultural Production and Landscape Studies, University of Turku and the students, spring 2020

Main photo: Laura Koivumäki, Tuohisalontie road

Last photo: Laura Koivumäki

Evacuees from Karelia were settled in Alkkia