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Destruction and reconstruction

During the Winter War of 1939–1940, Kirkkoketo was spared from actual ground war operations, even though its own protection forces had to burn and destroy e.g., many villages. In contrast, it suffered considerable bombardment damage. During the 105 days of the Winter War, Kirkkoketo had 128 air raids. There were 17 bombings. About 1 200 bombs were counted dropped, of which the vast majority were incendiary and fragmentation bombs. The most destructive day was January 26th, 1940, when there were four bombings and a total of 19 planes. Even on the day the armistice was concluded, March 13th, 1940, at 9:15 am eight aircrafts carried out a bombing, which left 79 bomb pits.

The German troops retreating from the White Sea Karelia destroyed – mainly by burning – Kuusamo’s settlements in the fall of 1944. As for Kirkkoketo, the destruction was complete – one hundred percent.

The Russian troops, who occupied the Kuusamo area after the Germans withdrew, built a “dugout town” for their troops in the Kirkkoketo area.

During the evacuation, people were able to save from the church e.g., the altarpiece and the chandelier. The church bells, which had been hidden before the church was burned down, were found 14 years later in the cemetery area of ​​German soldiers (a German colonel had given a pioneer officer’s letter about the location of the bells while visiting Kuusamo). The German soldiers who were once buried in Kuusamo have been moved to Rovaniemi after the war.

Next to the church is the Finnish Heroes’ Cemetery, where 441 fallen Kuusamo citizens have been blessed. The Russian soldiers’ cemetery is in Nilonkangas, where 747 soldiers are buried.


The reconstruction started at the beginning of 1945 and was completed at the beginning of the 1950s.