Will Holocaust crimes of Finnish volunteers in Ukraine go unpunished?

Zuroff calls on Finland’s president to take ‘painful step’ of investigating past.

January 15, 2018 16:59
1 minute read.
Will Holocaust crimes of Finnish volunteers in Ukraine go unpunished?

Russland, SS-Division "Wiking", Panzerspähwagen/ German Federal Archives. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, has appealed to Finnish President Sauli Niinistö to launch an official inquiry into the participation of Finnish volunteers in Holocaust crimes, in the wake of new research on their service in Ukraine in 1941.

Research published in October by Dr. Andre Swanström, chairman of the Finnish Society of Church History, strongly suggests that Finnish volunteers who served in the Viking Division of the Waffen-SS were actively involved in the mass murder of Jews in Ukraine.
Zuroff told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that he was awaiting a response to a letter he sent earlier this month to Niinistö in which he wrote: “I am certain that you would agree that such revelations require a forthright response by the Finnish authorities and appropriate measures to investigate this matter.”

“You might recall that in a similar situation in November 2003, president Halonen immediately initiated the establishment of a commission of inquiry to examine the deportation from Finland of approximately 3,000 foreigners to Nazi Germany, among them Soviet political officers and Jewish prisoners of war, who were thereby sentenced to almost certain death,” he added.

The establishment of that commission resulted in extensive research and the publishing of numerous books on the subject. Zuroff hopes that the same will happen now, following the findings of this latest research.

“All the research until now claims the Finns were not involved in killing the Jews,” he said, noting that Finland protected its own Jewish community.

“And this comes as a total surprise to researchers and society – it’s important,” Zuroff told the Post. “It’s a pattern,” he added, noting that similar revelations were made recently regarding the role played by SS volunteers from Denmark and Norway.

“A lot of our work of today is maintaining accuracy of what happened during the Holocaust,” Zuroff stressed.

“I hope that you fully understand the gravity of the research by Dr. Swanström and recognize the importance of a serious investigation of his findings,” Zuroff wrote to the Finnish president. “While the initiation of such an inquiry will no doubt be a painful step for Finnish society, it is only by honestly and courageously facing past mistakes that such unfortunate crimes can be prevented in the future.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

A colorful hanukia from the Judaica Web Store.
April 26, 2019
One of Manhattan’s three remaining Judaica stores is closing