Report: Finns may have helped kill Jews
Government had commissioned the investigation.
HELSINKI — An Israeli Holocaust historian praised authorities in Finland on Sunday for publishing a report that concluded Finnish volunteers serving with Nazi Germany’s Waffen-SS “very likely” took part in World War II atrocities, including the mass murder of Jews.
Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center lauded the determination of the National Archives of Finland to release the findings even if doing so was “painful and uncomfortable” for Finland.
Zuroff called the decision an “example of unique and exemplary civic courage.”
Finland’s government commissioned the independent 248-page investigative report, which was made public Friday. It said 1,408 Finnish volunteers served with the SS Panzer Division Wiking during 1941-43, most of them 17 to 20 years old.
“It is very likely that they (Finnish volunteers) participated in the killing of Jews, other civilians and prisoners of war as part of the German SS troops,” said Jussi Nuorteva, director general of the National Archives.
A significant part of the study was based on diaries kept by 76 of the Finnish SS volunteers. Eight of the Finnish SS volunteers are still alive, Nuorteva said.
Finland was invaded by the Soviet Union in November 1939. The fighting in what became known as the Finnish-Soviet Winter War lasted until March 1940, when an overwhelmed and outnumbered Finland agreed to a bitter peace treaty. The small Nordic country lost several territories but maintained its independence.