University of Oulu

Seitsonen, O., & Lundemo, M. O. (2021). “Railroad of Death”: History and Archaeology of the German-built Second World War Hyrynsalmi–Kuusamo Railway 1942–1944. Tekniikan Waiheita, 39(3), 34–59.

“Railroad of death” : history and archaeology of the German-built Second World War Hyrynsalmi–Kuusamo railway 1942–1944

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Author: Seitsonen, Oula1; Lundemo, Mari Olafson2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Finland
2University of Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 4.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Tekniikan historian seura, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-10-06


During the Second World War the frontal responsibility of northern Finland was held by German troops, who carried out large building projects to enhance the poor infrastructure of this peripheral region. This paper focuses on one of the biggest infrastructure projects performed by the Wehrmacht and Organisation Todt in Finland during the Second World War. The Hyrynsalmi-Kuusamo railway was to be built through a challenging landscape, by people who constantly overestimated their own abilities, and at the great expense and suffering of the workers who were mostly prisoners-of-war and forced labourers. Besides their own contemporary memories and experiences from this event, this construction project and its physical traces live in the local memories and have become part of the transgenerational heritage and remembrance of the war years. Using the wartime construction of the track as a starting point, this study goes on to map the heritage value, archaeological potential, and the state of research related to this German wartime project.

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Series: Tekniikan waiheita
ISSN: 0780-5772
ISSN-E: 2490-0443
ISSN-L: 0780-5772
Volume: 39
Issue: 3
Pages: 34 - 59
DOI: 10.33355/tw.103303
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
Copyright information: Copyright (c) 2021 Oula Seitsonen, Mari Olafson Lundemo. Tämä työ on lisensoitu Creative Commons Nimeä-EiKaupallinen-EiMuutoksia 4.0 Kansainvälinen Julkinen -lisenssillä.