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German supply lines and coexistence with Finnish locals

  • German supply lines and coexistence with Finnish locals. Photo: A. Torvinen

    German supply lines and coexistence with Finnish locals. Photo: A. Torvinen

German supply lines and coexistence with Finnish locals

In this area, too, some remains of German porcelain tableware can be found, although nearly everything visible above-ground has long since been cleared away. The porcelain stamps reveal that the tableware have been imported from Germany's own factories. For example, Rosenthal tableware has been found in large numbers in the camps used by the Luftwaffe. Large amounts of porcelain were also imported from the Porsgrunn factories in Norway. The Germans also bought Arabia porcelain, which can be found in the remains. Archaeological excavations would certainly find plenty of fragments and small objects under the thick layer of peat that has grown here over the decades. Archaeologists could probably also find interesting material for study from the concealed garbage pits found nearby.

The Germans enjoyed good food supply throughout the Continuation War. The food was diverse, especially for the officers – the crew of course mainly canned food – and also included various vegetables, grapes and prunes. Consequently, the German second line office, Kommandant Rückwärtiges Armeegebiet 525 (Korück 525), issued an order that all German garrisons should distribute warm surplus food to Finnish war orphans and impoverished children with the help of Finnish welfare authorities. In the rural municipality and the town of Rovaniemi, German units gave out food rations from German food distribution points to families chosen by the welfare board. Partly thanks to these measures, unlike in many other localities in Finland, there was no outright famine in the Rovaniemi region during the war, despite a general shortage of just about everything. From the start, it had been agreed that the Germans would bring with them just about everything they required, so that the local civilian population would not suffer from a shortage of food and goods. The German supply lines required huge logistical arrangements, as dozens of ships constantly brought weapons, ammunition, food and other supplies to Finnish ports. From the ports, supplies continued their journey by rail and truck to huge warehouses, and closer to the front line, the rest of the way in carts pulled by horses and mules. The Germans brought mules from Greece, but unaccustomed to the climate, they perished to the cold already during the first winter. Mules brought from elsewhere fared better.

In addition to units related to air operations, the Luftwaffe had many other personnel, such as anti-aircraft units, construction units and its own motor and horse transport corps. In this area, too, there were airdomes used to house Luftwaffe trucks. At the end of the war, there were more than 200,000 Germans in Lapland, as well as a large number of prisoners, workers and forced labourers. All in total, they numbered more than the civilian population of Lapland at the time. For example, the Luftwaffe employed Dutch and Estonian carpenters, perhaps even in the construction of these barracks.

The Germans were only permitted to buy strictly limited products from Finnish stores. In practice, this was not quite the case, as black market trade flourished and money, coffee, alcohol and sweets were exchanged for anything the Germans needed. The punishments for Germans who were caught in this type of clandestine trade were severe. All crimes by Germans were handled by the German authorities, and Finnish crimes by the Finnish justice system. The Germans had no jurisdiction over the Finns or vice versa.

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  • Latitude: 66.4999255775665
  • Longitude: 25.7591498928978

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