Lenin seized power in Russia in November 1917, and the Finns declared themselves indenpendent shortly later. The country exploded in murders that surpassed everything that had previously been seen in the Nordic region.
Neighbours killed neighbours, brothers killed brothers - poor people and ideologists deposed the government, seized power with violence and weapons and proclaimed a socialist state in southern Finland - supported by the Russian soldiers still in the country. A merciless German-supported counter-offense was introduced from western Finland. The Civil War was a reality. They red against the white ones.
“It would feel terrible to leave the place after so many generations,” Esa Peijari says. His ancestors have grown the fields in the summer and cut down the trees in the winter all the way back to the Finnish independence. His son Paul-Henrik at eight is ready to take over the Peijari farm in the future.
Camp 23 was a place where hundreds of Soviet prisoners died while the Finns tried to make them build a railroad in a wet nutrient-poor area between two lakes. A quarter of the prisoners never left. Diarrhea, overexertion, cold, hunger, parasites and the rifles of the guards stopped them. Three memorials have been set up in the area, and relatives of Russian soldiers, who worked and died here, occasionally attend memorial ceremonies.
Before the civil war, a new national consciousness had caught Finland. The saying was that Finns were a people with their own language and culture - and over the generations this ideas spread throughout the societies. However, the Russians were well in the process of suppressing the new Finnish national consciousness. For almost 100 years - since the Swedes lost it - Finland had been a great principality for the Russian Zar.
But the time was against the Russification. Paper factories and other industries sprouted, the population became mobile and tripled, and parallel with the national revival, class divisions were drawn more clearly between those who owned something and those who did not.
And then Lenin seized power in Russia.
As a child Usko Peijari was nothing worth, and no even bothered when the other children tried to spike him on a wooden pole. Today he still has a huge scare on his thigh after the assault attempt.
Usko Peijari climbed the ladder together with Finland's industrial prosperity boom. From the poorest of the poor to one of the riches in his municipality. He has painted his flagpole on the occasion of the nation's 100th birthday.
In these woods the family of Peijari lived. A small house called Lehtola was built by orders of Paavo Peijari. The beams are cut out of the woods around it, and it was the neighbour Vehmas who built it. Paavo and his family were white, Vehmas was red, and it is said, that Vehmas avoided execution only because he was so good a carpenter.
Paavo died 31 years old. It was gloomy night, and his wife Hilma and his kids was asleep in Lehtola. Paavo had driven his brother to a party in a town 30 kilometers away on a motorcycle. Suddenly, Hilma woke up and shouted: "Did you hear that?" But it was completely quiet in the woods. “Someone had an accident on a motorcycle,” Hilma said. The following morning Paavo was found with a skull fracture over ten kilometers away.
Landowner Jallu executed about 70 suspected socialists. Fathers, sons, brothers, a pregnant woman. Beat them up, and dragged them into a church tower and shot them. This is where he tried to kill a young guy named Kalle Lehtinen. For two weeks, he had been tortured and one night he was dragged to the church tower to be shot. But the bullet missed Kalle’s heart, and he was alive as he was thrown into the hole the gravedigger had made..
..In the morning Kalle crawled out and stumbled towards the road. He couldn’t see because the skin on his forehead had loosened and fallen in front if his eyes, but he could hear a cart approaching and he shouted:
"I'm Kalle from Kääpälä, please take me home!” But instead the man tied Kalle to a birch tree with the harnesses from the horses and fetched the gravedigger, who killed Kalle with his shovel and threw him back into the hole.