Lauri Allen Törni served with Finland during the Winter war, and due to being an officer, visited Vienna to obtain Waffen-SS training. Does this mean he would have had the SS blood type tattoo applied?

One reference on a different website I've found (albeit not a very high quality one, with no citations) claims:

"Even though he never fought with the Waffen-ss and spent only a short time in the organzation as an officer cadet, his ss past would come back to haunt him for the remainder of his time in Finland and when he later immigrated to the US."

(post #6)

Which seems to be strongly suggesting the presence of the tattoo as evidence of said service that he can't just anonymize away from.

Seeing as how I don't want myself or any burner emails to be associated with that site just to ask for a source or further reading, would there be any indication today as to a definite answer to this question?

I need it for a historical piece including the man himself, and I hope to include him having said tattoo as a major plot point.

For those unfamiliar:

Wikipedia page on Lauri Törni

Wikipedia page on SS blood group tattoos


1 Answer 1


At least two different sites repeat the same claim, that he did have the tattoo, and removed it with a knife. From an article on historynet.com, FROM GERMAN WAFFEN SS TO AMERICAN GREEN BERET:

In 1950, Törni moved to a Finnish community in Venezuela. He got a job on a freighter carrying ore to U.S. ports on the Gulf Coast. Once the freighter was in Mobile Bay, Alabama, Törni jumped ship—literally, by diving into the water and swimming ashore. He wanted to get to America and once on land would figure out how to stay there, a goal complicated by the fact that he didn’t speak English. (Over time he did learn the language but occasionally struggled with some of its complexities.)

Törni reached out to Alpo Marttinen, who had been one of the most highly decorated Finnish officers in World War II and was now in the U.S. Army. Marttinen worked behind the scenes to get Finns to the United States and serve with him under a new flag. Informally, they were known as Marttinen’s Men.

William “Wild Bill” Donovan, the founding director of the CIA’s predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services, in 1942 and now a partner in a law firm, was approached by Finnish American leaders to help their countryman, who had been arrested by the FBI for entering the United States illegally. Donovan used his connections to get Törni released.

However, the Finn’s Nazi past was still an issue. Törni used a knife to cut out a piece of his left arm that bore a Waffen SS tattoo indicating his blood type. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service was starting the deportation process when Donovan interceded again. This time his law firm lobbied Congress to pass a bill that would grant the Finn legal status. The legislation, signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on Aug. 12, 1953, stated that Törni was “considered to be lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence.”

The above article mentions a 2008 biography, Born a Soldier: The Times and Life of Larry A. Thorne, by J. Michael Cleverley, which may provide you with more information (unfortunately no preview pages on Google)

Another book you may find interesting, from 1998, Soldier Under Three Flags: Exploits of Special Forces' Captain Larry A. Thorne, By H. A. Gill, Henry A. Gill. (This book does have some preview pages, so you may be able to gather some information here)

The knife claim is also repeated anecdotally on another site here, but this is basically a discussion forum type site, similar to the one you mention in the question.

  • Question is answered by that, but the question then follows as to WHEN he cut it, which makes me believe the other post claiming soon before or just after arriving in the US. My issue with that explanation is that if he had it still on him at the end of the war he would have been treated poorly and tried for war crimes had he been found with it on him, because they were using that to determine SS membership. Aug 10, 2019 at 2:59
  • As it's well known he surrendered to the Western allies and not the USSR, that is. Aug 13, 2019 at 3:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.