|Date||1st May 2016|
Finnish memory politics has long been invested in an exceptionalism that presents World War II Finland as a safe haven for Jewish refugees and for Finnish Jews themselves. In fact, Finnish Jewry did perceive grave danger during the war, and geopolitical happenstance rather than deliberate policy alleviated it. The Jewish leadership was aware of the Holocaust and took precautions; when the Ryti-Ribbentrop Agreement strengthened Finland's ties with Germany in June 1944, Jewish leaders formulated plans to evacuate Jews to Sweden. In the event, Germany's worsening military situation allowed Finland to abandon cooperation with the Axis and the Jewish community to call off its plans. The author addresses the freighted silence surrounding this story, along with the complicated situation of Finnish Jewry in the war's aftermath.
Image shows Heinrich Himmler with Marshal Mannerheim in 1942 during Himmler's visit to Finland.