Sunday, February 10, 2019

Finland: Soldiers Participated in Mass Murders of Jews During World War II, Report Finds

Via Haaretz:
A report released Friday by the National Archives of Finland found that Finnish soldiers participated in mass murders of Jews, foreign civilians, and Russian prisoners of war during World War II.

The report concluded that 1,408 Finns volunteered in the Nazis’ Fifth SS Panzer Division (Wiking), and participated in massacres in Ukraine and the Caucasus between 1941 and 1943.

It’s hard to determine how many Jews and other people were murdered with the participation of Finnish soldiers, the report said, but the figure probably totals around 10,000 people. The massacres took place in dozens of cities, including Hrymailiv, Ozerna, Skalat, Tarnopol, Zboriv, Zolochiv, and Krivichi, mostly in the summer of 1941.

The study was initiated following a request by Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who has exposed hundreds of war criminals over the years. A year ago, Zuroff wrote to Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and asked that Finland carry out in-depth research on the subject in light of new findings about the involvement of Finnish soldiers in the murder of Ukrainian Jews.

Zuroff acknowledged that this would be a painful step for Finland, but argued that it is "the only way to courageously face the mistakes of the past and to prevent such crimes in the future." 
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