During ESTDOCS 07 this past October we became familiar with a new moderator, Kiur Aarma, a 32-year-old filmmaker whose prolific filmmaking repertoire has a broad range.
Aarma has recently made a documentary about a group of three educated Estonian men in their early twenties who became known as the Haukka group. After escaping to Finland the three were trained as radio operators in the winter of 1941and then dropped back into Estonia during the summer of 1941. There, before the German invasion of Estonia, they were able to give advance information on the movements and locations of the occupying Russians.
This story has as many twists to it as anything written by John le Carré.
In Estonia, after the Germans had driven out the Russians, the men remained in Finnish Army uniform, which, though different than the German Army uniform, made them allies. That difference brought them in contact with Lt. Sarv who was an Estonian nationalist. The British told the men, that after the war Estonia’s independence would be re-established.
After the summer of ’41, even though they were in the Finnish forces (Navy), they were sent to Germany (Berlin and Hamburg) for more training under the Abwehr (German military intelligence). The idea was that they would then go to Great Britain to spy against the British.
When Germany invaded the Soviet Union and it looked like it wasn't going to be a cakewalk the three, Leo Talgre, Ülo Jõgi and Toomas Hellat became convinced that Germany wasn't going win the war.
The Finnish by now (1943) had separated from Germany and the group went back to Finland for regrouping. They were re-organized by the Finnish and named the Haukka Grupp, given intelligence equipment, a high-speed motorboat and sent back to Estonia to set up a spy network and spy on the Germans.
The intelligence they gained about the Germans from Estonia was sent to the British and the case officer the British had assigned was none other than Kim Philby, the notorious Soviet agent, so all of the information that the Haukka Grupp gained ended up with the Soviets.
The story takes even more twists and turns but to reveal any more would let the cat out of the bag.
Though it is in Estonian it has good English subtitles.
One hopes that Aarma turns this story into a feature film.
Haukka grupp, a spy-fi documentary