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Beyond “Those Eight”: Deportations of Jews from Finland 1941–1942

  • Oula Silvennoinen
Part of the The Holocaust and its Contexts book series (HOLC)

Abstract

In the chilly early morning hours of November 6, 1942, the German transport vessel Hohenhörn left Helsinki harbor bound for Tallinn, Estonia. On board was a group of twenty-seven civilians, all foreigners being deported from Finland. Most were Estonians repatriated either forcibly or voluntarily to their German-occupied homeland. The group also included eight persons registered as Jews: five men, all of whom had been issued deportation orders, and the family members of two of them. The youngest deportee was a child of less than two years of age. As the eight sailed from Finland, Jews from neighboring Norway were already being murdered in the Third Reich’s concentration and extermination camps, having been deported en masse during the preceding summer. It seemed that the hour had struck for the small Jewish minorities of the Scandinavian countries. While the Jews of Sweden were still beyond the reach of the Nazi regime, the Jews of occupied Denmark were in the immediate danger zone. Were the Jews in Finland next in line? Only one of the eight Jews aboard the Hohenhörn survived the war; amid press clamor and much public talk, “those eight” have become a figure of speech in Finnish historiography and public knowledge, the very symbol and measure of Finland’s involvement in the Holocaust.

Keywords

State Police Provincial Government Foreign Affair Residence Permit Nazi Regime 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    On “those eight,” see Hannu Rautkallio, Ne kahdeksan ja Suomen oma-tunto: Suomesta 1942 luovutetut juutalaispakolaiset [Those eight and Finland’s conscience: The Jewish refugees deported from Finland in 1942] (Espoo: Weilin+Göös, 1985).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Christopher R. Browning, “Problem Solvers,” in The Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies, ed. Peter Hayes and John K. Roth (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 128–9.Google Scholar
  3. See Hannu Rautkallio, Finland and the Holocaust: The Rescue of Finland’s Jews, trans. Paul Sjöblom (New York: Holocaust Library, 1987)Google Scholar
  4. Hannu Rautkallio, Holokaustilta pelastetut [Spared from the Holocaust] (Helsinki: WSOY, 2004).Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    I discuss this issue in Oula Silvennoinen, Geheime Waffenbrüderschaft: Die sicherheitspolizeiliche Zusammenarbeit zwischen Finnland und Deutschland 1933–1944 [Secret brothers-in-arms: The cooperation of the Finnish and German security police 1933–1944] (Darmstadt: WBG, 2010).Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    Taimi Torvinen, Pakolaiset Suomessa Hitlerin valtakaudella [Refugees in Finland during Hitler’s reign] (Helsinki: Otava, 1984).Google Scholar
  7. 6.
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  9. 11.
    Oula Silvennoinen, “Transfers of Civilians to German Authorities,” in Lars Westerlund, ed., Prisoners of War Deaths and People Handed Over to Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939–55: A Research Report by the Finnish National Archives (Helsinki: National Archives, 2008), 168.Google Scholar
  10. 21.
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  11. 31.
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  12. 44.
    See, for example, Elina Sana [Suominen], Kuoleman laiva s/s Hohenhörn: Juutalaispakolaisten kohtalo Suomessa [Death ship SS Hohenhörn: The fate of the Jewish refugees in Finland] (Helsinki: WSOY, 2004 [1979])Google Scholar
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  16. 46.
    Walter Cohen, Jag sökte en fristad [I sought asylum] (Örebro: Evangeliipress, 1945)Google Scholar
  17. 54.
    Edwin Linkomies, Vaikea aika: Suomen pääministerinä sotavuosina 1943–44 [Difficult time: Being prime minister of Finland in the war years 1943–44] (Helsinki: Otava, 1980), 233–5.Google Scholar
  18. 55.
    Kauko Rumpunen and Ohto Manninen, eds., “Faktillisesti tämä tarkoittaa antau-tumista”: Jatkosodan hallitusten iltakoulujen pöytäkirjat [“Factually, this means surrender”: Minutes of informal government sessions during the Continuation War] (Helsinki: Edita, 2009), 78.Google Scholar
  19. 57.
    Oula Silvennoinen, “Still Under Examination: Coming to Terms with Finland’s Alliance with Nazi Germany,” Yad Vashem Studies 37, no. 2 (2009): 87–8.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2013

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  • Oula Silvennoinen

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