How Mannerheim ordered 160 Finnish Jews sent to Sweden!

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Claes Johansen
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How Mannerheim ordered 160 Finnish Jews sent to Sweden!

Post by Claes Johansen » 22 Nov 2017 14:47

I saw this on another thread but found it so interesting that I felt it needed its own:
Mannerheim also ordered the evacuation of 160 Jews refugees to Sweden in order to protect them.
(viewtopic.php?f=59&t=130079&start=120)

The posting is by another forum member called Lawrance Robinson. He gives no source for this story so perhaps he or others who are familiar with it would like to enlighten the rest of us.

As far as I know Mannerheim had no power in relation to matters concerning refugees, but maybe this is an exception worth investigation.
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Re: How Mannerheim ordered 160 Finnish Jews sent to Sweden!

Post by Claes Johansen » 22 Nov 2017 17:34

A few words mysteriously fell out of the last sentence in my previous posting and, as often happens, when I found out it was too late to edit it.

Here is the full original sentence:

As far as I know Mannerheim had no power in relation to matters concerning refugees so allow me to assume they must at least have been Finnish Jews - only I doubt he had any mandate over them either - but maybe this is an exception worth investigation.
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Re: How Mannerheim ordered 160 Finnish Jews sent to Sweden!

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 25 Nov 2017 11:26

Many Jewish sites seem to share this text:
In spring 1944, 160 Jewish refugees who did not have Finnish citizenship were transported to neutral Sweden to save their lives - on the orders of the Marshal Mannerheim, commander of the Finnish army.
http://jewishquarterly.org/issuearchive ... icleid=194
https://dbs.bh.org.il/place/finland
http://jewishstandard.timesofisrael.com ... uring-ww2/

Sweden had refused to take refugees from Finland, but Iver Olsen of the U.S. War Refugee Board persuaded the Swedish government to bring in these refugees.
https://books.google.fi/books?id=yV7taa ... &q&f=false

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Re: How Mannerheim ordered 160 Finnish Jews sent to Sweden!

Post by Claes Johansen » 25 Nov 2017 12:50

Thanks Seppo.
Many Jewish sites seem to share this text:
In spring 1944, 160 Jewish refugees who did not have Finnish citizenship were transported to neutral Sweden to save their lives - on the orders of the Marshal Mannerheim, commander of the Finnish army.
http://jewishquarterly.org/issuearchive ... icleid=194
https://dbs.bh.org.il/place/finland
http://jewishstandard.timesofisrael.com ... uring-ww2/
To me, this just looks like a myth that is going around in Jewish circles. It wouldn't exactly be the first. However, if it were true there would be some Finnish first hand sources to it.
Sweden had refused to take refugees from Finland, but Iver Olsen of the U.S. War Refugee Board persuaded the Swedish government to bring in these refugees.
https://books.google.fi/books?id=yV7taa ... &q&f=false
I couldn't find a direct reference to Mannerheim in this source.
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Re: How Mannerheim ordered 160 Finnish Jews sent to Sweden!

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 25 Nov 2017 13:04

The "order" may have taken place in 1942. In his memoirs (II page 388) Mannerheim writes that in spring 1942 Germany had demanded the deportation of Austrian Jew refugees. M had told General Walden and two other ministers that it would be shameful to accept such demand. Later he heard his stand affected greatly government decision.

After that attempts were made to move the refugees to Sweden, but Sweden refused until 1944.
http://www.jyrkinen.fi/historia/juutala ... tsiin.html

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Re: How Mannerheim ordered 160 Finnish Jews sent to Sweden!

Post by Claes Johansen » 25 Nov 2017 14:41

The "order" may have taken place in 1942. In his memoirs (II page 388) Mannerheim writes that in spring 1942 Germany had demanded the deportation of Austrian Jew refugees. M had told General Walden and two other ministers that it would be shameful to accept such demand. Later he heard his stand affected greatly government decision.
I agree. If the whole thing is just a misunderstanding, as so far appears to be the case, this looks likely to be the source, since the so-called "Mannerheim's Memoirs" for many years were pretty much the only easily available source of information on Finnish WWII history in English and several other translations.

As I'm sure most people who regularly visit this section of the forum are aware, however, "Mannerheim's Memoirs" weren't really written by the marshal himself but mainly a group of officers headed by Lieutenant General Heinrichs. It is of course composed after the war when it was crucial that anyone who had been closely associated with the Nazis could somehow "prove" they had not been antisemitic.

I have met several non-Finnish people whose whole idea of Finnish history during WWII was basically formed on reading these "memoirs". When you then try to confront them with the real events that modern Finnish historians have carefully managed to dig out of the enormous deliberate misinformation mire that for many years constituted Finnish WWII history, they get incredibly angry with you, almost as when you reveal to your children that Father Christmas doesn't really exist.
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Re: How Mannerheim ordered 160 Finnish Jews sent to Sweden!

Post by Juha Tompuri » 25 Nov 2017 23:08

Claes Johansen wrote:To me, this just looks like a myth that is going around in Jewish circles. It wouldn't exactly be the first.
Is there anywhere that we can can be confirmed about it being "a myth that is going around in Jewish circles"?
And why such a "Jewish myth" had been born?
Claes Johansen wrote:As I'm sure most people who regularly visit this section of the forum are aware, however, "Mannerheim's Memoirs" weren't really written by the marshal himself but mainly a group of officers headed by Lieutenant General Heinrichs.
As is the case with most statesmen and prominent persons, writing the memoirs was not an easy and straightforward task to Mannerheim either. He had several assistants, the most important of whom was Colonel Aladàr Paasonen. Emerik Olsoni, MA, and General Erik Heinrichs also made considerable contributions to the work. It was often Mannerheim’s only task to check and work up the texts written by others.
http://www.mannerheim.fi/13_erity/e_muiste.htm
Claes Johansen wrote: It is of course composed after the war when it was crucial that anyone who had been closely associated with the Nazis could somehow "prove" they had not been antisemitic.
?

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Re: How Mannerheim ordered 160 Finnish Jews sent to Sweden!

Post by Claes Johansen » 25 Nov 2017 23:33

Is there anywhere that we can can be confirmed about it being "a myth that is going around in Jewish circles"?
Not that I know of, as I think I made it clear from the wording I chose. Unfortunately this seems to be all we have at the moment, but perhaps more will pop up.
And why such a "Jewish myth" had been born?
Not exactly hard to guess, but that's no proof of course.
Thanks for the link. Always nice to have different sides to a story.
Claes Johansen wrote:
It is of course composed after the war when it was crucial that anyone who had been closely associated with the Nazis could somehow "prove" they had not been antisemitic.
Juha: ?
State your query in full, please.
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Re: How Mannerheim ordered 160 Finnish Jews sent to Sweden!

Post by Juha Tompuri » 25 Nov 2017 23:56

Claes Johansen wrote:
Is there anywhere that we can can be confirmed about it being "a myth that is going around in Jewish circles"?
Not that I know of, as I think I made it clear from the wording I chose. Unfortunately this seems to be all we have at the moment, but perhaps more will pop up.
And why such a "Jewish myth" had been born?
Not exactly hard to guess, but that's no proof of course.
Yep.
No "factual stuff", but only guesswork.
Claes Johansen wrote:
Thanks for the link. Always nice to have different sides to a story.
Yep, specially fact based.
Claes Johansen wrote:
It is of course composed after the war when it was crucial that anyone who had been closely associated with the Nazis could somehow "prove" they had not been antisemitic.
Juha wrote: ?
State your query in full, please.
?
Only just wondering about the base and truthfulness of your post.

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Re: How Mannerheim ordered 160 Finnish Jews sent to Sweden!

Post by Anne G, » 26 Nov 2017 10:39

The purpose of the claim of this kind is to present Mannerheim as a great humanitarian. But even when he between the wars acted as the chairman Finnish Red Cross and Mannerheim Child Welfare Union, he did so not only for humanitarian motives but also, perhaps even primarily, in order to help the future war effort, f.ex. by creating the nurse reserve and making sure that the conscripts were able-bodied. And as we know, his double-role as a Commander-of-Chief and the spokesman of the Finnish Red Cross was fatal for the Soviet POVs, for whose high mortality he bore the highest responsibility.

In order the study the matter more, I looked on the classic study of Taimi Torvinen, Pakolaiset Suomessa Hitlerin valtakaudella (The refugees in Finland during the reign of Hitler, 1984) because nobody can hardly claim her to "biased against Finland".

There was a clear difference in the official Finnish policy how refugees from the Soviet Union were formerly treated and refugess from Nazi Germany and countries occupied of it, Jweish and political, were treated already from the 30ies (represented f.ex. Minister of Interior Kekkonen). On the other hand, the latter refugees had also defenders and helpers among Social Democratic and liberal MPs and cultural elite, especially Swedish speaking.

The Jewish congregation, Social Democratic Party and (from the summer 1943) Kommitté för för judiska flyttningar i Finland tried to get for Jewish refugee an access to Sweden, but the answer was that Finland should take care of them and Sweden would take them only in case they were threated of surrender. At that time already thousands of refugees from f.ex. Norway lived in Sweden.

The change in the Finnish policy towards refugees happened when Edwin Linkomies formed his government in March 1943 (that is, after Stalingrad when Finnish leaders knew definitely that Germany couldn’t win the war). Linkomies ordered at once that the Jews who been placed in the camp on Suursaari which was so near the war zone that their lives could anytime become in danger should be transferred. In April 17-18 refugees were carried to Jokioinen, a farm owned by the state in order to do the work there. Others had already got to Sweden or freed from of work service based on doctor’s certificate. Most of the refugees continued to live in their former repositories in Häme.

The new Minister of Interior, Leo Ehrnrooth, presented to President Ryti a list of foreigners who had applied for the Finnish citizenship, among then dozens of Jews who had come to Finland before 1939 but whose applications the former Minister of Interior, Horelli, had left to rest. Most of them were now accpeted as Finnish citizens although Valpo had given a dissenting opinion of them.

The decision was meant to be secret, but it leaked out to the public. IKL asked the govenment about the basics of the decision in the Parliament wasn't centended in Ehrnrooth's answer. IKL's paper Ajan Suunta defended Horelli's policy. Its mitigation would mean the Jewish refugees who were hostile towards the anti-Bolshevik front could hurt Finland's society. The argument of Kansallissosialisti (National Socialist) was "protecting our country must come first". Therefore the German measures also on this respect were fully understandable. On the other hand, Suomen sosialidemokraatti wote that Jews had been treated and isolated in a way that wasn’t a honor to Finland.

From now on, Valpo’s recommodations about ”dangerousness” didn’t any more prevent refugees to become Finnish citizens (which guaranteed that they couldn’t be surrended to Germany), if others authorities defended their application.

In February 1944, Anthoni was replaced by Paavo Kastari as the chief of Valpo.

After that, the conditions of the refugees were relatively good (they had formerly justly complained about them). But they were still worried, this time about the possibility that if Finland made peace with the Soviet Union, there would be a could assisted by Germany in Finland.

In May, Sweden promised to take 109 Jewish refugees (of them 80 were stateless) and, after the USA promised to pay for their upkeep, the rest 25.

Also, because of the bombings 70 Finnish Jewish children received temporarily in Sweden.

Already in February 1945, some Jewish stateless refugees wanted to return to Finland. The Finnish and Swedish authoriries approved, but Jewish congregation took a negative stance because the hard food situation in Finland (I suppose that they thought that they had helped refugees enough during the war and were exhausted).

There were also other interesting matters in Torvinen’s book: in January 1943 Germany announced to its allies, including Finland, that it begins to ”purge” Western Europe from Jews and Finland should get its citizens home until 31 March. After that the exceptional treatmens of the foreign Jews will cease and also they will be transferred to the new colonies in Eastern Europe.

The Finnish Foreign office was quite keen to care of the Finnish Jews abroad and recommended them to move to Finland, but many were reluctant to do so. It seems that also the Germans were willing to help them to leave.

The Finnish ambassador in Berlin, Kivimäki, wrote in January 1943 in his report about the harsh conditions in ghettos in Poland based on the information of a Finnish engineer. In March a diplomat wrote a report with precise details and numbers how Jews were ”purged” in Berlin.

The foreign correspondets in Berlin were forbidden to tell about ”purging” the Jews, but all of them didn’t obey. Svenska Pressen (a Swedish-speaking evening paper published in Helsinki) [/i][/i]had a single column news with a subtitle on 27 March: ”A serious intention to destroy Jews wholly from Europe.”

Kansallissosialisti wrote that the number of the Jews had been decreased in all countries which were under the German occupation. After several citations about the aversion of the Jews Kansallissosialisti made an understanding conclusion that Europe should be freed from Jews which the German leader had lately strongly emphasized.

Suomen Sosialidemokraatti told a bit later that eight provinces of Holland would be made wholly ”Aryan” and Dutches who had protected Jews had been put in the concentration camps.

Finnish newspapers also told about frantic meetings in the Western countries in order to save the Jews and try to get the International Red Cross a possibility to watch over the treatment of the Jews in the Axel countries and their allies.

It was only when the Danish Jews were arrested in order to be transferred that there were public protests in Finnish newspapers. The most famous was that of the profssor of philisophy, Eino Kaila, in Uusi Suomi on 5th October. He declared himself as a Germanophile and an understander of National Socialism but condemned the persecution of the Jews that violeted the basics of the European civilization as they were subject to the innocent and great talents.

Small corrections.
Last edited by Anne G, on 26 Nov 2017 21:35, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: How Mannerheim ordered 160 Finnish Jews sent to Sweden!

Post by Anne G, » 26 Nov 2017 12:16

Juha Tompuri wrote:
Claes Johansen wrote:To me, this just looks like a myth that is going around in Jewish circles. It wouldn't exactly be the first.
Is there anywhere that we can can be confirmed about it being "a myth that is going around in Jewish circles"?
And why such a "Jewish myth" had been born?
The Finns had an obvious motive to create such a myth and sell it to the Jews who, not understanding Finnish, had no way to check it and were in need of positive stories.

There is also other Finnish myths in an article above, such as:
Mannerheim’s war aims were quite different from those of the Germans he fought alongside. He merely wanted to recover Finnish territory lost in the Winter War and to preserve the country’s independence. He had no desire to destroy the USSR because, as he once put it, ‘Russia will always be our neighbour.’
http://jewishquarterly.org/issuearchive ... icleid=194

With "Russia" Mannerheim didn't mean the Soviet Union! Of course he and his top officers as well as President Ryti and the Inner Circle of the government, wanted Germany to destroy the Soviet Union and believed it capable to do so. Otherwise there would be no reason in 1941 to join the war, or at least conquer East Karelia.

As Henrik Meinander has shown already in Suomi 1944 (also in Swedish Finland 1944) new biograpghy, Gustaf Mannerheim - aristokraatti sarkavaatteissa (also in Swedish Gustaf Mannerheim - aristokrat i vadmal) Mannerheim was a lifelong anti-Bolshevik. To him, the war in Finland in 1918 was a part of the war against the Bolsheviks as well as WW1.

On the other hand, Mannerheim was a realist enough to acknowledge in 1919 that even most bourgeois Finns were unwilling to join the attack against Petrograd. In the same way, he realized late 1941 that the the German victory uncertain and in any case the war had already meant too much losses to Finland.

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Re: How Mannerheim ordered 160 Finnish Jews sent to Sweden!

Post by Claes Johansen » 26 Nov 2017 13:35

@Anne G.

A big thanks for your two postings here. Let's just say the quality of the discussion suddenly took a big leap upwards! I recommend everyone who is openly and honestly interested in Finnish history to go back and read these postings very carefully and even several times over to take in all the detail, because they are real eyeopeners!

Meanwhile back in the sandpit ...

@Juha Tompuri
Juha Tompuri: Is there anywhere that we can can be confirmed about it being "a myth that is going around in Jewish circles"?
Claes Johansen: Not that I know of, as I think I made it clear from the wording I chose. Unfortunately this seems to be all we have at the moment, but perhaps more will pop up.
Juha Tompuri: And why such a "Jewish myth" had been born?
Claes Johansen: Not exactly hard to guess, but that's no proof of course.
Juha Tompuri: Yep. No "factual stuff", but only guesswork.
You're missing the point completely. After finding there was no basis for the idea that Mannerheim should have "ordered 160 Jews sent to Finland", I was consulting the source material that Seppo Koivisto had just posted to look for clues of how this rumour might have evolved. So there was some factual stuff, and on that I based my "guesswork", which of course is open - not to blinkered hostility and a fear of having to revise one's boy scout camp tales of heroes and villans - but to serious debate.

It's partly how historical science works.

How it doesn't work is like this:
Claes Johansen: It is of course composed after the war when it was crucial that anyone who had been closely associated with the Nazis could somehow "prove" they had not been antisemitic.
Juha Tompuri: ?
Claes Johansen: State your query in full, please.
Juha Tompuri: Only just wondering about the base and truthfulness of your post.
This kind of deliberately annoying evasive behaviour, where the counterpart is meant to waste his time on half-guessing what you actually mean, is called "playing peek-a-boo" and is clearly used in this case, as so many times before, to obstruct a discussion whose content one doesn't like. It is unambiguously prohibited in the forum rules and needs to be rooted out once and for all. For that reason I have once again reported Juha Tompuri to the forum staff. There might be a small problem there, though, since he he is a member of that same staff and could in fact even be the moderator on this very thread. :roll:
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Re: How Mannerheim ordered 160 Finnish Jews sent to Sweden!

Post by Seppo Jyrkinen » 03 Dec 2017 19:17

AnneG's post is good. Some details anyhow.

Finland did try to get Sweden to accept Jewish refugees after 17.11.1942 and this matter has been very urgent and important to Finland's authorities. Minister Horelli as well as Valpo took humbly part to those attempts (already before the time of Linkomies). Valpo even broke the letter of law to help refugees.

There were some 500.000 Finns in the army and a lack of labor was really horrible. The law obligated all 15-64 old people in Finland to work, no matter what was their nationality. They got normal salary and holidays. Rautkallio has found more than 360 people who had some Jewish background but weren't Finland's citizen and obviously most of them didn't have a status of a refugee. Valpo's famous list had 146 Jews and 4 Czechs. Most of those people had found an acceptable work, but some 80, who had been send to Hauho and Lammi, got aid from Helsinki Jewish congregation. In northern Finland there was 69.000 Finns at work and 40-45 Jewish refugees were send among them. Later 35 was send to Suursaari; also there were Finns at work. For some unknown reason Jewish refugees were released from work duty 1943 but somebody (Finland's Government ?) paid their food and other living.

Picture below has been made by Valpo and shows where 140 Jewish refugees were living in Finland in the end of 1942.

It was Sweden who changed her policy at 1943 and accepted 14 refugees from Finland. From Norway and Denmark some 7-8.000 Jewish refugees had arrived to Sweden and there was also Finland's citizens. Why Jewish refugees from Finland were on black list is a question without an answer.

Finally the rest of 150 refugees were allowed to travel to Sweden during 1944. Wilhelm Goldberg's, Emil Gottlieb's, Josef Kahan's and Ferdinand Weiner's wives were Finland's citizen's. Herbert Ornstein's mother was also a Finn.

Schapiro's came back to Finland 7.7.1944 and Klimscheffskij's 20.8.1944 and more were willing to come. In spite of the fact that Finland was still at war and Hitler's or Stalin's occupation was possible. Living standard in Sweden has been some 2-3 higher than Finland's. Those people, who came back to Finland, jeopardized their future, even their life. Would be very interesting to know, why they took the risk.

So far I know, Mannerheim didn't have anything to do with Jewish refugees. He was the head of the army and refugees were civilians. With Finland's own Jews he had something to do. Finland's army gave 28.4.1941 an order which gave to Jewish soldiers a permission to have their religious holidays free of duty. The date is remarkable; at 1941, when Hitler was ruling most of the Europa, there weren't many order's in any country, which had made Jewish life better. This order baceme later normal: a public order 13.12.1942 http://www.jyrkinen.fi/historia/kuvatmi ... paivat.jpg
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Re: How Mannerheim ordered 160 Finnish Jews sent to Sweden!

Post by Anne G, » 03 Dec 2017 19:30

Seppo Jyrkinen wrote: It was Sweden who changed her policy at 1943 and accepted 14 refugees from Finland. From Norway and Denmark some 7-8.000 Jewish refugees had arrived to Sweden and there was also Finland's citizens. Why Jewish refugees from Finland were on black list is a question without an answer.
I think the answer is clear. Norway and Denmark were occupied by Germany, so even Jewish citizens in those countries were in mortal danger. Instead, in Finland the danger concerned only Jewish refugees' possible delivery to Germany and later the possible coup attempt helped by Germany.

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Re: How Mannerheim ordered 160 Finnish Jews sent to Sweden!

Post by Seppo Jyrkinen » 03 Dec 2017 19:54

Clear? So if Jewish refugees in Finland were in danger to be send to Germany, Sweden took important to refuse those people to be send to Sweden! Wont understand.

We are talking about 150 people. So small amount of people should be a "no question" matter.
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