• William Tyler


Leslie, one of the students who followed my lecture on 'The Baltic and World War Two' for JW3 yesterday, reminds me that I didn't mention the Jews who fought in The Finnish Army, which in turn fought alongside the German Army in the Continuation War against Russia.


Somewhere in the region of 300 Finnish Jews fought in this way. One, Major Leo Skurnik, a medic, was even awarded The Iron Cross.

Some Jews kept their identity hidden, but many did not and a field synagogue was established at the Front. It is even recorded that German troops (clearly not Jews) attended services in it.

Throughout the alliance with Germany the Finnish Government refused to participate in The Holocaust maintaining the line 'We do not have a Jewish Question'.

Whether the following comment attributed to General Mannerheim in a letter to Himmler is historical fact or not is disputed but it nevertheless conveys the views of senior Finnish Officers, 'While Jews serve in my Army I will not allow their deportation.'

PS For those of you who don't know about JW3, you can check them out on their website. and by following 'courses' can discover what I am teaching (online) in the summer term, beginning on Thursday 23 April.

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