Finland’s Tarnished Holocaust Record

An Interview with Serah Beizer

A few years ago it became public that Finland had handed over almost three thousand Soviet prisoners of war to the Germans during World War II. Until that time Finland had the reputation of a country that protected all its Jews, except for eight Central European Jewish refugees who were handed over to the Gestapo in Estonia.
At least seventy Soviet Jewish prisoners were extradited to the Gestapo. Finnish historians claim that these people were handed over because they were political prisoners. However, many of the Jews were barbers, carpenters, and postal workers by profession. These are highly unlikely candidates to have been political agitators or commissars.
The Finnish government has appointed a historical commission to investigate the deaths, extraditions, and deportations of Soviet prisoners of war and others to the Germans. Author Elina Sana, who has played a crucial role in bringing the matter to public attention, says in her book that Finland should establish a truth commission. The present commission does not qualify as one. It has done important research but will only partly disclose its findings. Finland’s Data Protection Board decided that ‘in order to protect the privacy of the registered [person]…action has to be taken so that data on a certain individual shall not be revealed to outsiders’ without his or her permission. As the data on prisoners of war extradited sixty to sixty-five years ago, most of them 85-105 years old if alive by today, will not be published, this is hardly a truth commission.
There was little punishment for war criminals in Finland. It now seems that a large part of Finland’s tarnished wartime record will never be revealed