Foreign - Thursday 7.11.2002

"Unknown child" on the Titanic proved Finnish

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A baby boy who perished in the Titanic disaster 90 years ago was a Finn named Eino Viljami Panula, Canadian researchers announced on Wednesday.
The crew of a Canadian salvage vessel found the body of a fair-haired baby a few days after the unsinkable passenger liner had gone down on April 15th, 1912.
After the crew failed to identify the baby, they decided to take his body to be buried at the Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax, where 120 other Titanic victims were also laid to rest.

The words "Unknown child"
mark Eino Viljami Panula's head stone. He was 13 months old when the Titanic sank. Eino Viljami's mother and four brothers also lost their lives in the shipwreck. Gradually, Eino Viljami's grave has become the memorial for all the children who drowned on board the vessel.
"The unknown child has now become a known child, and he has been returned to his family", says researcher Ryan Parr from Thunder Bay's Lakehead University. Parr coordinated the efforts of 50 researchers to identify the child. The child's Finnish relatives are currently visiting his grave in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Magda Schleifer, 68, from Helsinki,
reported that she knew her grandmother's sister along with her sons had perished on the Titanic. The tragedy of the family history resurfaced in a concrete way, when the DNA tests proved that the unknown child had in fact been Eino.
The TV-series "Secrets of the Dead" contacted Schleifer about a month ago and asked if she would agree to give a small blood sample for the DNA testing. Schleifer, who had not heard of the unknown child before, said she wanted to help especially because her own grandchildren were now about the same age as the unknown baby was when he died.
In the grave that was opened last year there were just one small wrist bone and three teeth left of one of the youngest victims of the Titanic. In the coffin there was also a copper pendant, perhaps placed there by the sailors, with the text "Our Babe".

Eino's mother Maria Emilia Ojala
, together with her sons, had been on her way to Pennsylvania, where her husband John Panula worked. Another Finn, who survived the shipwreck, had later told Schleifer's grandmother that Maria Ojala and Eino had been offered a seat on one of the lifeboats. Ojala, however, had refused to leave her other four sons behind.
Eino Viljami Panula's family have decided that the boy's remains will stay in Halifax.
"The child has been looked after here, his memory lives in Halifax. Why change that?" Schleifer said to Reuters.

 Secrets of the Dead

Helsingin Sanomat

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