Lottery of Huruslahti

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The Lottery of Huruslahti (Finnish: Huruslahden arpajaiset) is a well-known event in the Finnish Civil War, in which approximately 90 "Red" prisoners were summarily executed by the White troops, after the Battle of Varkaus in 1918. It was the first application of the "shoot on the spot" -proclamation, which ordered that all Red leaders, agitators, saboteurs caught red-handed, and whoever had actually participated in violence should be shot without trial, defining this as justifiable homicide rather than a death sentence. It was claimed by the Reds that the White troops, after the battle of Varkaus, ordered all the captured Reds to assemble in a single row on the ice of Huruslahti, selected first all leaders and then every fifth prisoner, and executed them on the spot.[1] However, although the number executed was quite accurately 10%, the Whites individually selected each victim based on known identities and acts of violence rather than randomly. Furthermore, the condemned were first separated from the rest and then shot in groups of five. The legality has been debated; it was apparently embarrassing to the White leadership already at the time: there was no declaration of war, and the apparent legality was completely based on a military order, not law as conventionally required. However, the general amnesty laws adopted after the war absolved all perpetrators from judicial responsibility.


  1. ^ Marko Tikka / Ajatuskirjat 2006 : Terrorin aika / ISBN 951-20-7051-0