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LENA SELEN & 
BERNDT GOTTBERG, FINLAND

Invite to a visit and a lecture.

THEMES OF THE LECTURE

The Porkkala Parenthesis (A period with a Soviet base on 1000 square kilometers, of which 400 were land, on Finish territory located on the Northern shore of the Finnish Gulf). Finnish Cold War history.

LANGUAGES

English, German, Danish, Swedish, Finnish.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Postal address: Torbackavägen 244, 10160 Degerby.
E-mail: Lena Selen lena.selen@kolumbus.fi
Telephone number: +358 (0)40-541 8526.

The house in 1944 when Lena, 3 years old, visits her grandmother
Lena and her mother in 1956 when they return to the ruins of their house.
The road to the Gottberg-family’s farm looked like this in 1956. The roads in the area were damaged and the fields were overgrown because they have not been cultivated for many years.
It was a lot of work to repair the roads and make the fields ready again for cultivation.

Lena Selen is journalist and Berndt Gottberg is a farmer. They are both authorized guides and together with the Village council of Degerby they manage the Degerby-Igor Museum in Inkoo. The museum focuses on the period of the so-called Porkkala Parenthesis (1944-1956).

Lena Selen was a child in 1944 when 7,000 residents were given 9 days to leave the area of Porkkala, along with all their belongings and 8,000 animals, the potato and wheat crop and as much hay for the winter as possible. Berndt Gottberg´s homestead was a big farm in Porkkala, when his family left it there were 31 buildings.

At least 30,000 people from the Soviet Union moved into the area, among these 10,000 civilians.

The Finish State had to adapt to reality after the Second World War. Half a million Finns were forced to leave their homesteads, among them were over 420,000 Karelians from the eastern part of Finland. But Stalin also decided to take over the Porkkala area on the shore of the Finnish Gulf and close to the capital, Helsinki. The Soviet Union “leased” the area for 50 years, but left already in 1956 when the area had lost it’s strategic military importance.

Lena Selen moved back when the Soviet army had leaved the area, but just to realize that her house was totally demolished. Berndt Gottberg remembers what the fields and forests were like when his family returned to a demolished farm with just three (3) buildings left.