Sicherheitsdienst prison

We are now at the building used by the Geological Survey of Finland. Here, there used to be remains of steps of German buildings and ditches before the research institute's building was constructed. The area was a popular children's playground with plenty of wartime junk left behind. At the site of the research institute was a prison with walled cells used by the security agency Sicherheitsdienst for German prisoners. The area was surrounded by barbed wire fences. Next to the research institute's building, a fairly large embankment with buildings with natural stone edges has been preserved. These may be prison cells or rooms for guards and other staff. A combat trench dating probably from the Lapland War has been dug on the slope. The trench is about 50 metres long is probably had a dugout in the north end.

The Sicherheitsdienst, or SD, was the notorious intelligence and security agency of Heinrich Himmler, the leader of the German SS, and also included the Geheime Staatspolizei or Gestapo, the Kriminalpolizei or Kripo and the Einsatzgruppet, which murdered Jews and other minorities in occupied Eastern European countries. This SD prison was used to house German soldiers who had committed crimes in Finland. It is also known that captured Russian commissars were sent here for interrogation and likely execution. The prison probably did not have many staff, and the activities of the SD and Gestapo in Rovaniemi were fairly limited and had no involvement with Finnish civilians or soldiers. Their activities were centred in the north on both sides of the Norwegian border.

No documents have survived about the prison's operations, and as Finnish officials had no business visiting the place, information about what went on there is limited. Over in Pullinpuoli, in what is today Valdemari, was housing for the secret field police, Geheime Feldpolizei 735. As the name implies, this unit was the secret military police of the Wehrmacht, the German military, whose tasks included counter-espionage, preventing treasonous activities, counter-propaganda, guarding military targets and assisting in criminal investigations by German courts-martial. Secret field police are also known to have carried out executions of prisoners of war who attempted escape, and possibly also executed Soviet commissars imprisoned by the SD. The unit had no authority over the Finns and, as far as we know, never exceeded their authority.
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