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Finland and the Holocaust: The Rescue of Finland's Jews Paperback – August, 1988

ISBN-13: 978-0896041219 ISBN-10: 0896041212
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Unites States Holocaust (August 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896041212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896041219
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,302,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jan Peczkis on December 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
This intriguing book details the fate of Finland's Jews during the time that Finland was an ally of Nazi Germany. Finland's fate can be contrasted with that of another of Germany's allies--Horthy's Hungary. When Horthy balked at sending the Hungarian Jews to the death camps, German forces invaded Hungary and largely completed the job. This book details how Finland's Jews escaped destruction (or, more accurately, how they were never seriously targeted for destruction).

Rautkallio traces the history of both Finland's Jews and the local influence of the Nazis. He notes that Finnish Jews were afraid that admission of a large number of Jewish refugees into Finland would incite anti-Semitism, which up to now had been almost absent. (p. 75). If accurate, this suggests that the virtual absence of anti-Semitism in the Nordic countries owed not to some unique Nordic virtue of tolerance, but to the smallness of the numbers of Jews living there.

Rautkallio contends that certain Finnish actions have been misrepresented as anti-Jewish measures when in fact they were not: "There has been an attempt to blow up a single incident involving the handling over to the German police of a few fugitive Jews accused of criminal offenses into a symbol of Jewish persecution by the Finns." (p. 131)...The extradition of these Jewish refugees had no racial basis, although attempts were made to represent it as such during the postwar threshing out of the affair..." (p. 237).

Although not written with this in mind, this book has major implications relative to the supposed uniqueness of the Holocaust. Proponents of this view (e. g., Yehuda Bauer, Steven T. Katz, etc.
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Format: Paperback
I am so glad to be finished with this. I only finished it because, as far as I know, it's the only book-length study in English of Finnish Jews during the Holocaust. The writing was incredibly dry and the author spent way too much time in the beginning talking about the pre-Hitler Jewish population of Finland.

Finland was an ally of Nazi Germany, hoping to gain back territory lost to Russia. They had a small Jewish population to begin with, less than 1,000 people, most of them of Russian descent. Refugees began coming from Nazi Germany in the 1930s, but even so the Jewish population didn't get that much bigger because many of the refugees were just passing through Finland en route to Sweden.

Alone of all German-occupied countries and allies, they were never asked to turn over their Jews. In fact, 300 Finnish Jews fought on the front alongside the Germans, and no one saw this as a problem. Only eight Jews were ever surrendered to the Nazis, and those eight were seen as "undesirables" -- refugees who had worn out their welcome in Finland for whatever reason -- and sent along with a larger group of Latvian and Russian "undesirables." In other words, they were not deported because of their Jewishness. Of course, eight is still eight too many -- especially considering that only one survived the war -- but all told, Finland has a remarkable record.

I only wish it could have been told in a better way than this. The writing was like mud, so difficult to get through. Since it was written for an English-speaking audience (after all, it was translated into English) it should have had a glossary of Finnish terms, but it didn't. That way it wouldn't have taken so long for me to figure out what "Valpo" meant.

3 stars for its rarity, for that alone.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Harriet on September 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
Although the topic is well-researched and reasoned, the somewhat poor translation from the original Finnish text and repetitive passages detract from this already very dry book. However, it is a must-read for anyone interested in the overall subject and kudos must go to Dr. Rautkallio for having documented this commonly ignored area of Jewish history. Read the book with high-lighter in hand and you can return to the salient parts!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
mr rautkallio's book the rescue of the finnish jews is an impressive body of information. it describes the angst of the finns to gain freedom from the soviets. to avoid total destruction the finns sought assistance from nazi germany. this of course meant trouble for the small jewish population. rautkallio describes in immense detail how the jews were kept out of hitlers reach
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