This year marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Lotta Svärd. Almost as old is 94-year-old Ulla-Stina Westman, who joined the little lottery when she was 13 years old.
“I write at least when something happens, even if I can wait until I’m old and gray to get my diary full, because almost nothing happens here. ”
This is how a 14-year-old originally wrote in his diary in Swedish Ulla-Stina Berg (now Westman) on September 8, 1941.
The fact that nothing happens is relative.
One could say that a lot happened: a follow-up war had broken out between Finland and the Soviet Union in June. On the day of the diary entry, September 8, the siege of Leningrad began, in which Leningrad’s land connections with the rest of the Soviet Union were cut off.
But as at all times and in all places, teenagers are quite self-centered. And in the immediate environment where Westman lived, the teenager may not have thought very much happened.
The countryside of Helsinki, as Vantaa was known at the time, was not at the center of the war. Bombs fell on Tikkurila from time to time, but no one was reportedly killed in these bombings.
“I remember that Tikkurila’s paint factory was bombed and many women came to safety from there,” says Ulla-Stina Westman, now 94 years old.
Family lived in Jokiniemi near Dickursby School. Bergi was happy to come home, as they also had food to offer their guests. Grain was grown on a small farm, and there were a few animals in the yard, such as cows and a piglet.
“Everyone wanted eggs when they ran out of store.”
During the wars, food was also obtained from rabbits, which the family began to raise as supplementary food.
When the air alarm came, the family ran to their own basement for shelter.
“‘ Inside now, Akat, otherwise you have to hear the ass, ’we were commanded by neighbor Tilda,” says Westman.
There were hardly any men present, as most were at war on the front. Westman’s father was also on the maintenance front.
During an air alarm, Westman has apparently been left to watch the firefight, as he describes it in his diary.
“It was a great play when a cannon fire was fired at a cross in the sky.”
Westman the September diary entry involves a bit of drama for the teenager, as in fact he was not on the sidelines. A lot happened around.
When combat units for rural men began to form in June, some of them were assembled in Tikkurila’s youth observatory in Helsinggård. The house served as a headquarters base during the war.
In the same house, Miss Berg was cooking food for the soldiers as a little boy throughout the summer of 1941. The little ones were girls between the ages of 8 and 16, and they worked mainly as helpers in canteens and hospitals.
The boredom must have been that Westman’s work was quite numbing: endless peeling and cleaning of potatoes.
“I would have liked an air surveillance tower as a scout, but Mom wouldn’t let me in,” Westman says.
The air surveillance towers were stations located at high altitudes from which planes approached planes with binoculars. In some places there was a purpose-built tower for the stations. In Vantaa, there were towers at least in Kirkonkylä, Voutila and Sotungi. The work was mainly done by lotteries.
Although the work in the canteen itself was routine, on the side ear Westman heard one sun another.
One of the most shocking memories is in the pages of Westman’s diary in September 1941.
“They stood face to face with the shooters, eyes open. One of them showed his heart: Shoot here. ”
The Finnish soldiers who had come to Helsinggård to eat had proudly said that they had fired three Russian paratroopers.
Next in May of the year a new entry will be made in the diary with an exclamation mark: The tower shifts have begun!
Mom had given up, and Westman was allowed to start as an air surveillance house. Because Westman was a minor, he was only allowed to work during the day. Work was done in four-hour shifts, and the phone was picked up immediately if anything was detected in the sky. During the first day, Westman reported 14 times.
“It was exciting. We report immediately if we see a movement somewhere: in which direction the plane flew and how many there were. ”
The tower shifts were certainly exciting but also dangerous. In the high unprotected towers, the lotas were exposed to bombs, and in the winter the towers were very cold. There is one air surveillance house buried in the heroic cemetery of St. Laurus Church, which died due to severe freezing.
Westman was not in the tower in the winter because that’s when he went to school. The school was regularly irregular during the war and the subjects taught were to the teacher’s taste. Ulla-Stina Westman’s mother was a teacher and they were often visited by teachers. A teacher at Apollo Co-educational School said in a meeting that they are only taught drawing and religion. Tokigt that is, crazy, Westman thought and said it out loud as well.
“That’s when Fröken Lindholm said sourly that his students enjoyed studying religion all day, and Mrs. Rosenström said that without religion we become like Russians who have no religion at all.”
When the Continuation War ended in 1944, the news was not received with joy alone.
“It was horrible that so many had to leave their homelands. We wondered if all that fight was in vain, ”Westman says.
The end of the war also raised fears. Westman still has newspaper clippings on how people were beaten in the anti-Russian protest at Senate Square.
“We were terribly frightened that the Russians were coming here and what they were doing to us.”
But life went on, and the teenager grew into an adult who married and had two children.
Now that Westman is old and gray, as he once wrote in his diary, several diaries have been written in full. However, the things that the wartime diaries tell us are best remembered.
“Raija” and “Irja” saved Helsinki from total destruction when Stalin sent 900 bombers in 1944 to destroy the Finnish capital
The parish played a dirty game as evacuees who fled the war searched for land in Vantaa – Every section of the law was reviewed to prevent newcomers
The forgotten war plane is being rebuilt in complete silence in Vantaa – Such was the “sad case” of Finnish aviation history
Lauri Kristian Relander raised rabbits in Jokiniemi before his presidency –
The lottery organization was founded a hundred years ago: Anneli Vaittinen, 15, was ordered to help the Headquarters so that the messages shrouded in cryptography passed through the decisive summer of the war in 1944.
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