Finland and the Nazis

Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
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Post by Obserwator » 07 Dec 2004 21:20

Obserwator, the west was perfectly aware the Soviet were engaged in murdering Christian, wars of aggression, etc.., yet the US and UK gave the Soviets a thousand times more help than the Finns gave the Germans.
Soviet Union didn't pursue complete genocide of several nations as its goal.
Why is killing off a bunch of Jews any worse than killing off a bunch of Christians, small business owners, prosperous farmers, etc...? It would be interesting to learn something about WalterS' background
The systematic, planned and complete eradictation of people is something different then inner conflict and subsequent purges of people.
Soviet Union never placed racial extermination as its goal, German Reich did. Furthermore, it was the German Reich that was an aggressor, and forced allies to declare war by invading Poland, later attacking Soviet Union.
After the war the western Allies engaged in both political and secret efforts to both stop communism and liberate people under its rule.Nevertheless Soviet Union never pursued a policy of complete and systematic murder of ethnic groups and thus can't be compered in similar way with German Reich.
In case of German victory there would be no Jews left, of Poles there would be only a couplel milion slave.Soviet Union alllowed those people to live although it actively repressed those who were considered political opponents.To repeat -the extermination of people wasn't the goal of Stalin, like in the case of Hitler.

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Post by WalterS » 07 Dec 2004 21:30

It would be interesting to learn something about WalterS' background.
OK.... You want it, you got it.

I was born in Los Angeles, 1956. That makes me 48, Dan, before you run out of fingers and toes. My father and uncles on both sides of the family(including in-laws) served during WWII. My Dad was Navy. His brother flew B-17's

My Dad's family is Irish. My mother's family is from Italy. That makes me an Irish-Italian Catholic.

I graduated California State University, Fullerton in 1978. (I am a California guy just like you, Dan)I was commissioned a US Navy officer in 1978 and served 22+ years until retiring in 2000 as a Commander. I was in the Persian Gulf during the Iran hostage crisis, played footsies with Russian destroyers (you do remember the cold war?), served in Desert Storm, Bosnia, was on 6th Fleet staff during the Albanian crisis of 1997 when we had to evacuate the embassy, and on and on.

I am married, 2 kids, one of each, live in Arlington, Texas.

Politically... I voted Bush in 88, Clinton in 92 and 96, Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004. I also voted for John McCain in the 2000 primaries. In 1968, when I was 12, I worked for Eugene McCarthy's campaign.

I am not sure what any of this has to do with this forum, but you asked.

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Post by Dan » 07 Dec 2004 21:36

The systematic, planned and complete eradictation of people is something different then inner conflict and subsequent purges of people.
There's no proof that the Nazi planned on doing that.
Soviet Union never placed racial extermination as its goal, German Reich did.
They murdered more than the Germans, (although it took them a few years longer) so what's the difference? Both murdered millions of innocent people. If the Finns are guilty helping Germans, the US and UK are guilty helping the Soviet Union. Anyone who can think clearly without letting their emotions, racial or ethnic biases or progaganda getting in their way can see this.
Furthermore, it was the German Reich that was an aggressor, and forced allies to declare war by invading Poland, later attacking Soviet Union.
Now you are being childish. The German invasion of Poland was, if posible, easier to justify than the Soviet invasion of Finland, since Poland was sitting on some German territory. That is not to say that the German invasion of Poland was right, just to put it into the context of this thread. The year before, Poland marched into CZ on the same pretext as Germany going into Poland. In the case of the Soviets, it was pure aggression.

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Post by Earldor » 07 Dec 2004 21:58

WalterS wrote: However, it is not necessary for the Finns to have known everything the Nazis were doing in order to be considered "aiding and abetting" them.
Ok. Although I find you criteria to be extreme, and not taking Realpolitik into account. I also find that your view is loaded with hindsight. I hope that my saying so doesn't offend you.

To establish what kind of a crime you personnally consider this "aiding and abetting" to be, could you give us a number describing the degree of guilt, let's say between 0 and 100, where 0 = not guilty and 100 = Nazi Germany? Can one quantify guilt?
I also find it somewhat intellectually dishonest to hear our Finnish friends on this forum wash their hands of complicity by saying that Finland was only fighting for her own aims.
I don't feel that Finland, as a nation, can be blamed for too much in this sense. I suppose it is a question of degree of guilt. In my opinion, it is not counterfactual to say that Finland does bare some of the blame. But only in the sense that she fought alongside the Germans due to pressing circumstances. As a nation, Finland can, again IMHO, indeed continue to hold her head up high in spite of this.

There are on the other hand instances were Finland didn't conduct herself entirely honourably. The first case is the prisoner exchanges with the Germans and the inclusion of some of the Jewish refugees in one transport.

The siege of Leningrad is another thing. There we can establish direct Finnish involvement. It is however a bit unfair to bring up possible future plans up and state that Finland would have taken part in the spoils of war and committed war crimes, since we can only speculate without proof. Personnally, I believe that Finnish actions in this regard affected Stalin and his decisions later in the war.
The fact is that Finnish soldiers fought alongside German soldiers. Finnish troops bombed and killed Russian troops, thus saving the Germans the trouble.
Would you mind explaining how Finland could have stayed out of the war and not have fired at Soviet troops?
I realize that raising this issue attacks a sacred cow on this forum
I don't mind discussing the issue, in fact, I welcome it, but I'm not convinced that your view on the matter is very realistic. If you simply want to express moral disgust and state that Finland fought alongside the Germans and in that sense "aided and abetted" the Holocaust (without proving that the Finnish government had any options or had knowledge what they were getting into in relation to the Holocaust) that is factually correct, but doesn't take all the facts into account.
but I feel that if it's OK to accuse the Bush family of complicity, and it's OK to call Allied fliers "terror bombers" it ought to be OK to raise the issue of Finnish complicity in WWII.
Like I said, be my guest, although I have no idea where the Bush family and the terror bombers came into discussion. Is this the moral equivalency -gambit?

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Post by Earldor » 07 Dec 2004 22:15

Obserwator wrote: This was known at least since 3rd of May 1941 and later on 10th December of 1942 when Polish Foreign Ministry published reports describing the situation of Poles and Jews under German occupation.
How far and wide were the reports disseminated? The Allied and neutral countries were listed, what about Germany's allies?
In the course of the last three years the Polish Government has lodged a number of protests with the Governments of the civilized countries of the world condemning the repeated violations by Germany of International Law and of the fundamental princi-ples of morality since September 1st, 1939, i.e. since Germany's aggression against Poland.
Ok, this report was compiled and sent in 1942. In 1939 Poland as well as Finland had other things on their mind... You can read what happened in the meanwhile on the Finnish front from the previous messages.

Do you have a suggestion as to what the Finnish government should have done about the matter?

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Post by Earldor » 07 Dec 2004 22:19

Obserwator wrote: Soviet Union didn't pursue complete genocide of several nations as its goal.
Actually, in many cases it did.

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Post by Obserwator » 07 Dec 2004 22:27

Obserwator wrote: Soviet Union didn't pursue complete genocide of several nations as its goal.


Actually, in many cases it did.
Please name nations that were exterminated by Soviet Union.

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Post by Earldor » 07 Dec 2004 22:45

Please name nations that were exterminated by Soviet Union.
Their biggest targets were their perceived enemies, i.e. the political targets (kulaks, etc.) but the SU tried to do away with the Chechens, the Crimean Tartars, Greek-Soviets, etc.

There are some stories where Stalin was heard commenting that he would do the same with the Finns.

Granted his methods were somewhat different from the German methods, but I don't see why this makes one more acceptable morally than the other. Also, I make no moral distinction between genocide or democide.

http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE4.HTM

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Post by Harri » 07 Dec 2004 22:46

WalterS wrote:The bottom line, according to the sites I listed, is that Finland did help Nazi Germany in furthering its war aims, for whatever reasons.
That "whatever reasons" must be first know and understood before writing that "Finland did help Nazi Germany in furthering its war aim". They are very important two words in this.
Obserwator wrote:German Reich engaged in policy of racial extermination and genocide of several nations. This was known at least since 3rd of May 1941 and later on 10th December of 1942 when Polish Foreign Ministry published reports describing the situation of Poles and Jews under German occupation.
If we talk about Finland our policy towards Germany became more and more suspicious towards the end of the war. I think reports like this were without doubt one reason for this gradual change since 1942.
WalterS wrote:However, it is not necessary for the Finns to have known everything the Nazis were doing in order to be considered "aiding and abetting" them.
So, Americans were also responsible of Soviet Gulag because you know about them?
WalterS wrote:I also find it somewhat intellectually dishonest to hear our Finnish friends on this forum wash their hands of complicity by saying that Finland was only fighting for her own aims.
So, maybe you can tell us why US didn't declare war on Finland then?
WalterS wrote:The fact is that Finnish soldiers fought alongside German soldiers.
True.
WalterS wrote:Finnish troops bombed and killed Russian troops, thus saving the Germans the trouble.
Also German troops bombed and killed Russian troops thus saving Finns from the trouble.
WalterS wrote:Finnish troops added manpower and resources to the struggle against the Soviets.
True. Actually a lot. In the summer Finnish Army had the strength of about 630.000 men.
WalterS wrote:The Finns may well have had goals distinct from those of the Germans but this does not absolve them of the fact that their assistance aided the Germans in their goals.
Untrue. There is another problem: Finns didn't partisipate in making Germans' goals of war. In Finnish direction Germans did take advices from Finns but Germans made their desicions alone. Actually Finns did their part, then all Finnish troops were stopped by the Finnish Supreme HQ. Germans actually failed in gaining their goals.
WalterS wrote:I realize that raising this issue attacks a sacred cow on this forum, the other being Sweden, but I feel that if it's OK to accuse the Bush family of complicity, and it's OK to call Allied fliers "terror bombers" it ought to be OK to raise the issue of Finnish complicity in WWII.
You forgot Switzerland, Turkey, Spain and Portugal. Did I forgot any? Oh yes: Vatican.

There is no sacred cows. But the one who makes claims must also prove them correct. We have seen several such attempts. I think you have a huge job in proving Finnish "war crimes"... :|

Bush, his family and the current situation in Iraq etc. have nothing to do with this except that is a very good example on how super powers act. Situation in the 1940's was otherwise totally different. We can discuss about that in other threads outside this irrelevant forum section.

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Post by Obserwator » 07 Dec 2004 23:56

Please name nations that were exterminated by Soviet Union.
Their biggest targets were their perceived enemies, i.e. the political targets (kulaks, etc.) but the SU tried to do away with the Chechens, the Crimean Tartars, Greek-Soviets, etc.
I completely aware of this.Many Poles were also killed under Soviet Occupation.But.
Last time I saw Chechens, Tartars were still around.True many of them died in repressions or deportations, but unlike Poles or Jews under German occupation they weren't destined to be exterminated.
The plans for Poland and the East called for tens of milions of people to be murdered, and reduce whole nations to slave status.Stalin didn't have such plans towards people he controled after the war. One could survive in soviet controled Poland, go to school, learn get work, get health service.No such thing would be possible if German Reich won the war.

http://www.dac.neu.edu/holocaust/Hitlers_Plans.htm

. Also, I make no moral distinction between genocide or democide.
German Reich victory-tens of milions murdered, rest kept as slaves, a couple of nations exterminated
Soviet Union victory -total totalitarian control, persecution of people considered enemies of the state

That's a bit of a difference if one aims to exterminate whole nations as a goal of conquest and if one murders people only to control them, but doesn't aim at exterminating every last one of them.

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Post by WalterS » 08 Dec 2004 00:16

Here is a review of a book by a Finnish historian, Elina Suominem, about Finnish collaboration with the Germans:
Foreign - Tuesday 4.11.2003

More than just eight deportations to Nazi Germany

New book reveals 3,000 foreigners handed over during World War II

By Unto Hämäläinen

Researcher Elina Suominen shocked Finns in the autumn of 1979 with her book Kuoleman laiva s/s Hohenhörn ("Death Ship S/S Hohenhörn"). Suominen had dug up a blemish on our history that had nearly been forgotten: during the Continuation War (1941-44) eight Jews were sent to Germany to concentration camps, and Finland came very close to handing over even more.
The book sparked a long debate, and even now - nearly a quarter of a century later - references are made to the book. The fate of the extradited Jews became a part of Finnish history. Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen apologised to the Jewish community in early November 2000 at a ceremony on Helsinki's Observatory Hill in which he unveiled a monument to Jewish refugees.
Already when the book appeared, Suominen said that she had other material from the time of the Continuation War about extraditions from Finland to Germany. "Someday that could also be written in book form", predicted journalist Raija Forsström in Helsingin Sanomat on October 1, 1979.
Now that day has arrived. Next week a new book, Luovutetut - Suomen ihmisluovutukset Gestapolle ("The Extradited - Finland's Deportations to the Gestapo") is to be published, showing that many more people were handed over to Germany during the Continuation War than has been generally known.

The world has undergone considerable changes in the time that has passed since the previous book came out. There is no more Soviet Union, Germany is united, and Finland is a member of the European Union. Also, there is no more Elina Suominen; she is now Elina Sana. However, much remains of the young researcher of whom Dr. Jukka Tarkka wrote: "The pent-up zeal is the strength of Suominen's text, but also the weakness of this book".
On the outside Sana does not look zealous in any way. She appears to be a quiet and unpretentious woman who approaches her work with an attitude of humility.
This 56-year-old Master of Social Sciences and mother of three has worked for more than 30 years in Finland and abroad in projects involving development cooperation, gender equality, and education. Most recently she served as secretary-general of a consultative committee on equality issues. That came to an end in May. Now she is an unemployed researcher.
"When I worked for the UN, life would toss me to all corners of the world. The stack of papers grew and travelled around with me in moving boxes. Finally I stored them away in my attic instead of carrying them around with me in these last African countries", Sana says, recalling the phases of her book project.

There is no single reason why the work was interrupted in the autumn of 1979. There was the responsibility of a single parent for a family, and she also had to move house many times because of her work. The spirit of the times undoubtedly also had an impact. It was the time of the Cold War, and history was one of the weapons in the ideological battle.
The prevailing atmosphere did not encourage handling sensitive subjects. Sana waited for someone else to grab the bait and start to examine the deportations of the Continuation War. This did not take place, and the work that was left undone started to bother her.
Three years ago Sana returned from a foreign assignment to Finland and decided once again to go back to the papers, read them through, and add material that had piled up over the years. She thought that she might arrange the papers so that they might be available to future researchers in public archives, but the material itself was just too compelling. She simply had to write the book that she had once promised to write.

It will have been 60 years since the end of the Continuation War next year. Much has been written about the war, so it is understandable that readers will look at a new book on the subject with a certain amount of suspicion. Is there anything new that can be found in the archives?
Elina Sana is quite sure that her results are accurate.
"The way that our history is written needs to be be changed in exactly the same way that it changed as the result of my first book", she says.
That is asking quite a bit, because changing the way that history is written is no insignificant process. It would have an impact on the work of researchers, public debate, and the teaching of history in schools, and on the collective memory of the nation - that is, the image that all Finns have of the Continuation War.
And the image that we have of the Finland of the Continuation War is a positive one. A small nation survived a war of two dictatorships by allying itself with Germany in 1941 and by making a separate peace with the Soviet Union in 1944. The country was spared an occupation, and managed to guarantee the security of its own citizens, and even to oppose Germany's intentions to eliminate Finland's Jews.
Sana's book puts something of a crack in this image. The most important conclusion that can be drawn from the study is that Finland had a hand in the destruction of people who sought refuge in this country, or who became prisoners of war here.

"Finland's part in the holocaust is much bigger than has been admitted so far", Sana says.
According to her research, 3,000 foreigners were extradited from Finland into the hands of the German security service (Sicherheitsdienst, SD), and to the secret police - the Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei), which was subordinate to the SD. Decisions to extradite were made especially in the early part of the Continuation War, in 1941 and 1942.
"In 1943 there was a turnaround. It was then that the torrent dried up and became a trickle", Sana says.
Those who were extradited included Jews, Russian POWs, and, for instance, people from countries of Central Europe who found themselves in Finland, and were considered to be "undesirable elements" by the Finland of that time.

A common feature of the deportees was that they were "dissidents" of some kind or another - communists, or suspected communists. The same fate was shared by a number of Finnish communists who had come to Finland from the Soviet Union and were imprisoned here.
Included among the Russian prisoners of war were a large number of political officers of the Red Army - "commissars". When they extradited them to Germany, Finnish authorities were well aware of the order given by Adolf Hitler already at the beginning of the war: the commissars must be liquidated immediately.
The deportees did not end up in German hands by accident or bad luck: their fates were sealed by decisions made by Finnish officials.
"The extraditions were systematic", Elina Sana says.

It remains unknown, and it is unlikely that it will ever be ascertained with any certainty, what happened to the deportees once they were in German hands. However, at least some of them - probably a large part of them - lost their lives. They would either have been summarily executed, or they would have succumbed to the harsh conditions of the prison camps. In any case, only a few of them ever came back.
The biographies of a few of the extradited, whose stories the researcher found particularly touching, were investigated for the book. The most poignant was the fate of a Finnish man who had been born in the Pori region.
"The man was jailed for stealing hay during the Continuation War. As he was serving his sentence, officials noticed that the man had been in Soviet Karelia in the 1930s. While he was in prison his status was changed to that of a Soviet prisoner, and after serving his sentence he was handed over directly to the Gestapo", Sana explains.
She traced the man's fate, but the trail came to a dead end. The last mention was on the list of incoming inmates at the Stutthof concentration camp.

Elina Sana rolls out a massive amount of archive material for her readers. She has gone through studies that have already been published on issues such as the treatment of prisoners of war during the Continuation War. She has also compares information in various archives, and draws her own conclusions.
The deportations were difficult to trace because the documents in question have been meagre, and some extraditions were carried out in secret. Much of the archive material was destroyed at the end of the war.
According to the book, deportations followed two different routes. One of them was the "police route" - the Finnish State Police VALPO. The other was the "military route", involving military officials.
Sana estimates that 129 people were handed over by VALPO. Most of them were Russians, Estonians, or Finnish-born communists. Also included were soldiers from the Winter War who refused to fight alongside Germany.
The book contains a table that progresses from day to day, revealing that the first handover of prisoners to the Germans took place on September 23, 1941 in Rovaniemi, and that the last one was in Hanko on August 19, 1944.
Prisoners were handed over on 49 separate occasions, and a total of 2,829 prisoners of war were involved. The prisoners mostly came from POW camps. Included among them were more than 500 political prisoners and Jewish prisoners of war.
"The total number is higher than that mentioned in lists drafted after the war, because it also includes information that had been kept in the archives of the camps", Sana writes in the summary of her book.

When a white page of history is opened up, a debate on whom to blame usually ensues. Sana's study might spark discussion of why Finland did not refuse Germany's demands.
"There were many kinds of pressure directed at Finland... The thinking was that nothing else could be done", Sana says, commenting on the decisions that were made at the time.
Perhaps there was some cold calculation involved. By deporting "foreigners" it might be possible to protect Finnish citizens against German demands. This is also what was done by Germany's other allies.

In addition to officials and military personnel, civilians were also ordered to deal with the prisoner of war question. Those ordered to do the work included Uuno Hannula, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Pohjolan Sanomat, and Eljas Erkko, Managing Director of Sanoma Oy, which published Helsingin Sanomat. Before the war Hannula had been the Minister of Finance, and Erkko was the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the centre-left government of A.K. Cajander.
The book includes Hannula's desperate letter to Erkko. Hannula was the head of the prisoner of war camp of Northern Finland, and Erkko held a high position in POW affairs in Helsinki.
"My situation is difficult: on the one hand my sense of duty says that I must stay in my post. On the other hand, the task that has fallen upon me is a terrible one", Hannula wrote at the end of 1941, and he asked to be relieved of his duties, in which he felt that he had "thoroughly failed".
Hannula got his wish, and in the following summer Erkko left his post in POW administration, and in the autumn of 1942 he was one of the signatories of a public appeal opposing the deportation of Jews.

In her research on the fates of the deported, Elina Sana found herself face-to-face with her own family history. During the war her father had served as an interpreter for German forces in Northern Finland, and it is likely that he knew something about the handing over of refugees to the Germans.
"My father suffered psychological damage caused by the war, right up to his death. I was never able to talk to him about those times. I do not believe that he did anything bad. However, he probably saw something, and I am sure that it was the reason for his anguish."
Sana believes that hundreds of Finns have borne the same burden, and that many still do. They saw things, but were unable to do anything under the prevailing conditions.

Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 1.11.2003
http://www2.helsinginsanomat.fi/english ... 031104IE14

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Post by Harri » 08 Dec 2004 00:37

So, "change of tactics" when the original one didn't work? :wink:

This is and old case and has been discussed earlier in this forum. Perhaps someone can provide a link?

Handing soldiers over to Germans was not a war crime. Also Germans handed people over to Finland. It is under investigation in Finland and the final results will be seen after two to three years.

Anything else?

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Post by Dan » 08 Dec 2004 01:02

"Finland's part in the holocaust is much bigger than has been admitted so far", Sana says.
According to her research, 3,000 foreigners were extradited from Finland into the hands of the German security service (Sicherheitsdienst, SD), and to the secret police - the Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei), which was subordinate to the SD. Decisions to extradite were made especially in the early part of the Continuation War, in 1941 and 1942.
"In 1943 there was a turnaround. It was then that the torrent dried up and became a trickle", Sana says.
Those who were extradited included Jews, Russian POWs, and, for instance, people from countries of Central Europe who found themselves in Finland, and were considered to be "undesirable elements" by the Finland of that time.
So Walter thinks this is worse than all the tens of thousands the western allies turned over to the Soviets after the war, some of whom fought side by side with the western armies? This is beyond belief.

Really, you had a thourough indoctrination during your time in the Navy, didn't you? There is some ancient advice concerning the removal of a beam to help see clearly to take the speck out of someone else's eye.

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Post by WalterS » 08 Dec 2004 01:05

So Walter thinks this is worse than all the tens of thousands the western allies turned over to the Soviets after the war, some of whom fought side by side with the western armies? This is beyond belief.
We weren't talking about that. We were talking about Finland. Check the thread title. It's up there at the top.

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Post by David Thompson » 08 Dec 2004 01:14

Harri -- You asked:
This is and old case and has been discussed earlier in this forum. Perhaps someone can provide a link?

Concentration camps in Finland
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=50883
Finland and the "Final Solution" in WWII?
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=36016
A finn selected Ingrians to Natzweiler !
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=58668

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