Reality is often more wonderful than fiction

Lyceum student Viljo Armas Heinonen, presumed fallen in Olonets, wrote to his home from the Bayreuth internment camp, Bavaria.

Few guys from Turku, who volunteered to fight for the freedom of Olonets Karelia, fell in the Battle of Olonets in May 1919. Among others, was mentioned the seventeen-year-old Lyceum student Viljo Armas Heinonen. His body, however, was not found and nothing has been heard of him until Monday morning, when a letter from the Bayreuth internment camp arrived at his home from Bavaria, Germany.

On the night of May 27, 1919, he had been sent with a party of 40 men to reconnaissance the enemy's positions on the other side of the Tuloksa River. This reconnaissance party was hit by enemy’s fire after advancing about 100 meters near their lines. Party retreated through the swampy forest, but there Viljo Heinonen, as he now reports in his letter, was captured by the Bolsheviks.

The prisoner was taken to Petrograd for interrogations by the Finnish Communists and then sentenced to two months in prison. From there, like so many other prisoners, he was forcibly transferred “under the control" of the Red Army. On August 10, 1919, this army unit was transferred to Arkhangelsk, where the unit was for nine months, after which it was transferred to the Polish front. The unit stayed here for four months, until August 25, when it was forced to retreat across the border to Germany, where the entire 4th army of Red Soviet Russia fled in the amount of 58 thousand men.

In Germany men were placed in many internment camps; Finns, a total of about thirty – in Bayreuth.

According to Viljo Heinonen, among these Finns there are four forcibly mobilized, who, including Heinonen, on September 15 wrote to the commander of the camp application, announcing how they had been taken to the Reds and asking for their release as citizens of Finland, non-Reds. This petition has been sent to the Finnish consul in Berlin, and the Finns are waiting for release, like early the citizens of Hungary, which also were taken to the Red Army in the same way. Viljo Heinonen himself, who has not heard nothing either from his home or Finland during a whole 1 1/2 years, earnestly hopes that the day of freedom will soon come after long suffering. He hopes that at home is being done all possible to free him.

It was a great pleasure at home when the son, who was already presumed dead, informed that he is alive and, judging by his long letter, the former honest and brisk Finnish heart is still Beating in his chest. Let us hope that Viljo Heinonen will soon be able to get out of his troubled life stages to his home and to his friends, to become a worthy citizen of his native country with the harsh influence of life experiences which was gained, at such a young age, in adventures which were more wonderful than any fiction.

Uusi Aura -newspaper
November 1, 1920