Hella Wuolijoki, 1946
|Born||Hella Ella Murrik|
22 July 1886
Ala, Helme Parish, Valga County, Livonia
|Died||2 February 1954 (aged 67)|
|Pen name||Juhani Tervapää|
Life and career
Wuolijoki was born in the hamlet of Ala [et] in Helme Parish, Valga County, Governorate of Livonia. She began her studies in Tartu, before moving to Helsinki in 1904. In 1908, she married Sulo Vuolijoki, a personal friend of Lenin. They divorced in 1923. Later, Wuolijoki spelled her name with a capital W.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Wuolijoki had a literary and political salon that discussed culture and promoted left-wing ideas. She had secret connections with the Soviet intelligence and security structures. The Finnish police suspected her of being an illegal resident spy, but there was no solid proof until 1943, when she was arrested for hiding Kerttu Nuorteva, a Soviet paratrooper spy on a mission to acquire information about the political sentiment and the German troops in Finland, and sentenced to life imprisonment. She was released in 1944, after the ceasefire that ended the Continuation War.
Wuolijoki was a member of the Finnish Parliament and the head of the SKDL parliamentary group from 1946 to 1947. Wuolijoki also served as the director of the national broadcasting company, YLE, from 1945 to 1949.
She died in Helsinki in 1954.
Wuolijoki wrote several books under the male pseudonym Juhani Tervapää, characterised by strong female characters. The 1947 film The Farmer's Daughter was adapted from her 1937 play Juurakon Hulda, which she also wrote as Juhani Tervapää. She collaborated with Bertolt Brecht on the initial version of his Mr Puntila and his Man Matti.
Salme Dutt, an influential member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, was Wuolijoki's younger sister. Wuolijoki was the grandmother of Erkki Tuomioja (1946), Finland's Minister for Foreign Affairs between 2011–2015.
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