World War Second left its footprint all over the European Arctic, and one manifestation can be found in Enontekiö, where the Järämä Fortification – aka. the Sturmbock-Stellung has been built. Today, an open-air museum keeps the remainders of the Järämä Fortification accessible and in shape, allowing to get a view on this impressive sight.
When in 1944 Finland and the Soviet Union agreed on a peace treaty, the German army retreated towards north, where they aimed at securing their mines, such as the nickel mines on the Kola peninsula. As part of securing the arm of Finland, the German army built the Järämä Fortifications, or Sturmbock-Stellung in German, near Karesuvantu, in the Enontekiö municipality. Mainly prisoners of war were used to dig trenches in the solid granite bed rock. In this area the bed rock belongs to the oldest on this planet, with an estimated age of 2.7 billion years (Planet earth is about 4 billion years old.). The fortification were built for 12.000 German soldiers and was used from October 1944 until January 1945, when the German soldiers retreated the area.
Today a big part of the Järämä Fortification has been turned into an open-air museum. Some bunkers have been rebuilt and some of the trenches are being kept in shape. While the museum is only open during summer, a visit really pays off. It is quite astonishing to see the trenches in the granite bed rock of the Järämä Fortification.