Death of Yrjö Saarenpuu

A little clarity on this matter
(A little later)

As a result of the lot newspaper publications against the Commander of the Second Battalion of the First Regiment of the Olonets White Army Jäger Captain Hyppölä, let’s to clarify a few facts. In the country's newspapers Captain Hyppölä has been branded a scapegoat. It is alleged that on July 6, in the Palalahta Village he without reasons sentenced to death Lyceum student Yrjö Saarenpuu, and that after the execution of the death sentence, he also forbade the transportation of the body of the executed Saarenpuu to Finland. On the real side, we can reported the following:

In the robbery of the church in the Vedlozero Village on June 29, 1919 took part a total of 11 men from the Fourth Company of the Second Battalion of the First Regiment (reserve vänrikki Kallio Company). When during the interrogations became clear that the act was a planned as "collective decision", the commander of the group M. was sentenced to death, which sentence was passed on to the Military Court of the First Regiment for approval. All other participants in the robbery deserted in the direction of Finland, but M. voluntarily remained in Vedlozero Village, although he was sentenced to death. For these reasons, M.'s punishment was commuted. In order to compensate to the inhabitants of the Olonets Karelia and to clean up the tarnished reputation of the Finns, M.'s death sentence was exposed in public in Vedlozero Village. Such crime as a robbery of church in the eyes of the inhabitants of Olonets Karelia, as well as other people, is the most terrible crime that can only be done. Yrjö Saarenpuu also took part in act, as can be clearly seen from the protocol, because the robbery was, as already mentioned, a mutual “collective decision”. After the crime had been done, its participants deserted in the direction of Finland, with the exception of the commander of the group M. During escaping, the deserters also broke the telephone line so that the Regiment could not be informed about the need to arrest them, and, moreover, they armed resistance. Desertion from front-line unit, damage to important telephone lines and group armed resistance are separately crimes punishable by death under by military law, not to mention robbery of church, offending the most sacred feelings of the people.

According to the instructions from the Regiment, the intention was to sentence the entire rebel group to death, but grace was allowed. Only one was executed unconditionally, and the other criminals were drawn by lot to decide who (one) of them would be execute. As is well known, the lot fell to Yrjö Saarenpuu, who was later executed because he, in military service, joined to the "collective decision", took part in the robbery of church, deserted from the front-line unit, engaged in armed resistance, etc. The verdict of the Battalion Court was completely legally submitted by Captain Hyppölä to the Regiment Court, which upheld the verdict.

Thus, screaming news in the newspapers that Captain Hyppölä was guilty of the death of executed Lyceum student Yrjö Saarenpuu, is therefore untrue.

Staff officer
Uuden Suomen Iltalehti -newspaper, no. 187
August 19, 1919