Hella Wuolijoki

Hella Wuolijoki
Hella Wuolijoki, 1946
Hella Wuolijoki, 1946
Born Hella Ella Murrik
22 July 1886
Ala, Helme Parish, Livonia, Russian Empire
Died 2 February 1954(1954-02-02) (aged 67)
Helsinki, Finland
Pen name Juhani Tervapää
Occupation Author
Language Finnish
Nationality Finnish
Citizenship Finnish

Hella Wuolijoki (née Ella Marie Murrik; 22 July 1886[1] – 2 February 1954[1]), also known by the pen name Juhani Tervapää, was an Estonian-born Finnish writer known for her Niskavuori series.[2]

Early life

Wuolijoki was born in the hamlet of Ala in Helme Parish (now in Tõrva 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 began spelling her name with a W.



Wuolijoki wrote several books under the male pseudonym Juhani Tervapää that were 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.[3] She collaborated with Bertolt Brecht on the initial version of his Mr Puntila and his Man Matti.


In the 1920s and 1930s, Wuolijoki hosted 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.

Personal life

Her younger sister, Salme Dutt, was an influential member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Wuolijoki was the grandmother of Erkki Tuomioja (b.1946), Finland's minister for foreign affairs between 2011 and 2015.


Wuolijoki died in Helsinki in 1954, aged 67.


  1. ^ a b Hella Wuolijoki in the Free Online Encyclopedia
  2. ^ Wuolijoki, Hella. Eesti Entsüklopeedia 10. Estonian Encyclopaedia Publishers, Tallinn, 1998
  3. ^ Liukkonen, Petri. "Hella Wuolijoki". Books and Writers (kirjasto.sci.fi). Finland: Kuusankoski Public Library. Archived from the original on 30 March 2013.

External links