Pervitin (methamphetamine) is a potent addictive stimulant, inducing the sense of intense pleasure and happiness while reducing hunger and the need for sleep.

It has a similar chemical structure to amphetamine, only more potent. At the same dose, the brain absorbs more methamphetamine and triggers more intense effects.

The crystalline form of methamphetamine was first manufactured in Japan, but Pervitin was patented in Germany in 1937.

Although Nazi Germany had a strong anti-drug stance, they made an exception for Pervitin and considered it a miracle product.

Unlike heroin and alcohol, which were regarded as escape drugs, the Nazis touted Pervitin as a method to reach a heightened sense of vigilance and hyper-alertness.

During World War II, Pervitin was highly popular not only among Nazi Germany but also Finnish soldiers.

In the winter of 1994, during a patrol into Kandalaksha in Russia, a Finnish soldier named Aimo Koivunen made his name into history books not for displaying uncommon valor but for taking all the Pervitin pills supposedly given to his entire group.

He skied away from his group in a frantic state, got injured, and lost.

10 /10 Shootout In Kandalaksha

The day was March 18, 1944. World War II held its grip in Europe. Finland had a unique position of being an ally to Nazi Germany but not part of the Axis Powers.

The country did not engage in an open war with the Allied forces. Instead, Finland fought its own battle against the Soviet Union.

About 10:00 a.m. that day, a Finnish army patrol was approaching the territory of Kandalaksha. Corporal Aimo Koivunen was part of that long-range scout group.

After almost non-stop skiing for over two days, the enemy opened fire on them during a short break.


9 /10 A Rush Forward

Second Lieutenant Rytkönen gave an order to Aimo to set up ski track mines to prevent two enemy platoons from getting too close.

Aimo made a rush forward not by choice but because it was the only way to go. He set a few mines only to realize that the Soviet soldiers would go around the charges.

It had been a couple of hours since the shootout began. Aimo had not had the chance to eat anything during the short break, and now he was feeling weak. He did all he could and kept ongoing.

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8 /10 Pervitin Pills

Aimo was skiing in front for some time as the shootout continued behind him. In between dodging the bullets and trying to maintain direction, he dealt with his battle against fatigue.

Throughout the struggle, Aimo knew that all the Pervitin dose assigned to the group – all 30 pills of them – was in the front pocket of his jacket.

Although he was against taking the substance, his current condition left him with no choice. Aimo decided to take one, but his mittens made it challenging to pick just a pill. He swallowed every single one of them.

7 /10 No Recollection

Moments later, the corporal grew increasingly agitated and dangerously disorganized to the point where his fellow patrolmen had to remove the clips of his machine gun.

Aimo had no recollection of much that happened afterward. Once he regained consciousness, the next thing he knew was being alone in the morning and stranded some 100km away from the ambush site.

He had no idea how he had departed from the scout group and arrived there. He didn’t even remember what day it was. His bag was empty without food and ammunition.

6 /10 Westbound

It was a good thing he remembered that the next waypoint of the patrol was located in a barren plateau to the west of his current position.

Aimo set the course of his compass and skied westbound. It didn’t take long until he came across a camp with some soldiers inside.

The way was downhill, and thinking they were friendlies, Aimo glided towards them as fast as he could.

He had already reached the middle of the camp when he realized they were Russians. Turning around would make it worse, so he skied even faster to escape instead.

5 /10 Cabin On Fire

It must have been at least two days since the unfortunate encounter with the Red Army when Aimo came across an abandoned cabin in the middle of nowhere. The doors were open, so he went inside and made fire.

He found a tin can and melted a pile of snow for a hot drink. Still, under the influence of Pervitin, Aimo failed to realize that he had burnt a wooden floor.

The fire grew larger until, eventually, the cabin collapsed. Miraculously he survived and continued skiing the following day. At this point, he had completely lost track of time.

Karolis Kavolelis /

4 /10 Land Mine

Along the way, Aimo once again bumped into another camp. It had dugouts, barbed wire obstacles, and a plowed road in front of it.

The center was a German guard post to his relief. He took off the skis and walked toward the entrance on the roadside. After a brief walk of about 20 steps, Aimo set off a land mine right under his left foot.

The German post had been abandoned indeed, but the land mines were still scattered around as a form of fortification.

3 /10 Siberian Jay Treat

Aimo crawled away as far as he could, grabbing anything he came across on the ground. On his left hand was a ski pole, and on the right was a door handle still attached to the panel.

He forced himself into a hole then stopped crawling. Trying to make himself as comfortable as possible, he used the door panel to make fire.

Aimo was so weak he could barely sit up. He hit a Siberian Jay that flew across his head using the ski pole and ate the bird raw.

Artem Mishukov /

2 /10 A Rescue, Finally

Now inside a hole with his left foot severely injured and without food, Aimo felt all hopes were lost.

He couldn’t remember what day it was when he heard the sound of an airplane, and it was German reconnaissance with some Finnish soldiers onboard.

A man spotted Aimo only to tell him that help was on the way but not possible at the moment. As it turned out, Aimo was right in the middle of a minefield. Aimo waited again with a renewed hope of survival.

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1 /10 To The Hospital

About an hour later, the soldiers came back to the hole and picked him up. They put him on a horse-pulled sled on the way to the hospital.

He arrived at the emergency care weighing only 43kg with a heart rate of 200bpm. Aimo was later informed that the hospital began taking care of him on April 1, 1944.

He had wandered around the wilderness under the influence of a mind-altering drug for two weeks.

Over that period, he embarked on a hysterical trip covering 400km. Aimo Koivunen recovered from the ordeal and died peacefully at age 71.

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