The Winter War Monument was erected in honour of the veterans of the Winter War 1939-1940 as well as those others who were involved or who suffered. The monument is located along the side of the old Raate road. The bloodiest battles of the war were fought in this area.
The monument forms a part of the Raatteen Portti Winter War exhibition. It was designed by Suomussalmi’s Erkki Pullinen and was consecrated on 13th February 2003.
Stones standing on an area covering almost three hectares represent the number of soldiers who died in the Winter War battles of Suomussalmi. This stone field reminds us of the human suffering which the war brought. It impels the viewer to reflect on the mindlessness of war.
The central monument “Wide Embrace” stretches its protective wings over the silent field of stones. The monument contains 105 brass bells, one for each day of the Winter War. When the wind blows the bells sound a quiet message of the mindlessness of war.
A text on the central monument reads,
“Although man dies – his memory lives on.”
The Winter War Monument is a powerful message for peace. It communicates to its viewer the idea that war is a horror that no-one alive today need experience.
The idea of peace is particularly stressed by the fact that here on the Raate road a joint monument has been built to commemorate the dead of two nations which fought against each other. The Winter War Monument project comprises a study in which researchers from Finland and Russia are together investigating the history of the Winter War and related issues. Such a strong desire to collaborate with a former foe is possibly unique anywhere in the world. Perhaps this is the real meaning of peace work.
The Winter War Monument project is financed by the EU Interreg III A Karelia programme, Suomussalmi Municipality and the Employment and Economic Development Centre of Kainuu.
The location can be seen on the Kainuu outdoors map.
Click here for the official site of Raate Gateway.
89800 Suomussalmi kk