Foreign - Wednesday 19.11.2003

Wiesenthal Centre wants more information on Finnish wartime deportations

 Nazi hunters send request to President Halonen

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, an institution dedicated to investigating the persecution of Jews by Nazi Germany and bringing the perpetrators to justice, has sent Finnish President Tarja Halonen a request for information on the deportation of Jews from Finland to Germany during the Continuation War with the Soviet Union.
The Wiesenthal Centre became interested in the subject following the publication of a book by Elina Sana, which reveals that about 3,000 foreigners were extradited from Finland to Germany during the war - considerably more than previously acknowledged.
According to the book the foreigners were handed over to the German security service and its secret police, the Gestapo.
A very large number of extraditions took place in 1941 and 1942.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre wants
an extensive investigation into the deportations. The centre notes that Jewish prisoners of war who were extradited to Germany were being sent to an almost certain death.
The Wiesenthal Centre wants more information on who decided on the deportations, and that they be brought to justice, if possible.
Interior Minister Kari Rajamäki (SDP) said on a television news programme on Tuesday that he expects the Security Police (SUPO) to draft a report on the issue.

The chairman of Helsinki's Jewish congregation
, Gideon Bolotowsky, said on Tuesday that there had been previous information according to which the number of people extradited to Germany was greater than the eight Jewish refugees previously known.
According to Bolotowsky the deportations appeared to violate international treaties that Finland had committed itself to before the Second World War.
He said that Finland's Jews would like to know if the proportion of Jews among the Soviet prisoners of war sent to Germany was particularly high, or if it corresponded to the proportion of Jews among Soviet Russian POWs captured by Finland during the war.

Previously in HS International Edition:
 Wartime refugees made pawns in cruel diplomatic game (11.11.2003)
 More than just eight deportations to Nazi Germany (4.11.2003)

 Simon Wiesenthal Center

Helsingin Sanomat

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