Winter War Resources

Winter war and the following Continuation War and Lapland War are documented also as internet-era resources. 

Here we take look at some of the resources freely available to anyone. Albeit mostly in Finnish as the resources are only partially available in English.

You also have the option to see the Simo Häyhä diary with your own eyes at the Häyhä and Kollaa museum.

War Time photography

War photography is perhaps the most instant way to learn of the many faces of war.

Häyhä himself was awarded a Zeiss-Ikon folding camera for his heroics in the Winter War. He used it to take pictures of the Continuation War era. Those images recording the life at the home front of his home village and relatives unfortunately are not available as they have been seen by only his relatives and those in the Häyhä family society.

During wartime the footage shown was controlled and censored but now all of it is available.


SA-kuva archives feature all the wartime photographs taken. Including even some drawings by the troops.

So the archives of the Wartime Photograph Archive of SA-kuva are freely available for all. The downside is that the execution of the archive is archaic so the search function for example is not up to modern standards. How the site frequently ceases to work is also less than optimal. But there is also a modern solution.


Fortunately the Sotasampo project has also a modern component for searching the SA-kuva archive image bank. Although it either doesn't function always as reliably as you would expect a modern website to work so it can be as frustrating to use. Even if it is already far better than the original archive.

Since the Finnish defense forces have already IT corps formed from those serving their mandatory military service it should be possible to remake the original archive without spending too much time or resources. Of course, slow are the hurries of misters.


Sampo is a magical artifact that was fought over by the wizard Väinämöinen and witch Louhi in the Finnish national epic Kalevala.

Sampo is the magical device that grinds grain and gold for its beholder in the Finnish national Epic Kalevala collected from Karelian rune singers by Elias Lönnrot. Sotasampo hopes to be the same for those interested in the Finnish wars of the Second World War. 


The Sotapolku project tries to gather information about individual soldiers. To give information about for example their civilian backgrounds and where they were located in the war. Illuminating their warpaths.


Some had their warpaths captured in color photographs, bringing them perhaps that much closer to the current day.

Some soldiers have little to no information. Some have photographs with them. 

The Rautjärvi men who fell on Kollaa were not left behind but brought by their fellow soldiers to rest at the Rautjärvi hero cemetery.

Kansa taisteli magazine

The Finnish Kansa taisteli (The People Fought) magazine was published between 1957-1986. Collecting war stories of the soldiers. Which are now available for free on the internet in PDF format as the Finnish War Histographical Society made them available for all to read.

Kansa taisteli

A legendary magazine that collected war stories that 'men told'.

The magazine utilized often the Finnish war record photographs in their stories. Which are now public on the previous sources with any additional might have been added to the photos for context.

I don't know if there yet a tool that could reliably translate text from a PDF source. As that would open at least some of it to non-Finnish speakers. Although translator tools do not yet always manage to cope with Finnish as many times the original meaning of a sentence can be turned upside down. But maybe one day.

Kollaa and Simo Häyhä museum

The small Kollaa and Simo Häyhä Museum is run by volunteers. It is open during the summer time and for groups on reservation otherwise.

Kollaa and simo häyhä museom

The former reserve garrison infirmary was turned into a museum by volunteers.

The museum is located along the main road 6 alongside the Finnish-Russian border. The original Häyhä home farm is only a few kilometers away on the Russian side.

The museum has attracted plenty of visitors outside of Finland too. Foreign media stories of the Winter War often include the White Death. For example British, French and Japanese media visited the museum during the summer of 2022.

At the basement level of the museum is the exhibition dedicated to Häyhä. There you can see for example the equipment he used, the elongated sled he was pulled away on after being wounded and of course the hand-written diary. Plus other memorabilia.

The Saimaa ice age formed lake land area is also very beautiful during the summer if you ever visit Finland.

For example the Venice of the North, Savonlinna, with Olavinlinna, the medieval castle built to face the Eastern threat of Finland, is surrounded by Saimaa, the greatest lake in Finland. It is nice during winter, autumn and fall also. Or at least so my ancestors thought living there at least since the 1600's when the population record-keeping began.


Learn how the diary was found and made into a website. Discover resources and media related to Simo Häyhä, Kollaa and the Winter War.

Häyhä and The Winter War in Literature, Movies and MediaWinter War ResourcesHistory of the Diary

unknown soldier

Unknown Soldier is both the most beloved Finnish book and movie. The various humanized characters of the machine gun company can also be found in the recent modern movie adaptation of the Väinö Linna classic novel. If you ever want to truly surprise a Finn, try quoting lines from Unknown Soldier out of the blue.

Unknown Soldier

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the white sniper

Major Tapio Saarelainen who interviewed Simo Häyhä dozens of times has written a book called the White Sniper about Simo Häyhä. Which is the most authentic long-form source available in English regarding Häyhä so I can recommend it if you want to learn more.

The White Sniper

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Free online courses

If you are interested in free online courses can help. As our sister site highlights all the completely free university courses from Finland.