Heikki Hiilamo: Kuoleman listat. Suomalaisten salainen apu Chilen vainotuille [Death lists. Secret assistance of the Finns to Chilean dissidents]

17 September 2010 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Kuoleman listat. Suomalaisten salainen apu Chilen vainotuille
[Death lists. Secret assistance by Finns to Chilean dissidents]
Helsinki: Otava, 2010. 362 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-1-24003-7
€ 32, hardback

The 1973 Chilean coup that ousted President Salvador Allende, and the subsequent persecution of dissidents, forced Allende’s supporters to seek asylum in foreign embassies. A number of refugees climbed over the wall of the Santiago home of Finland’s chargé d’affaires, Tapani Brotherus. As the Finnish official line of neutrality was to avoid interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, Brotherus was taking a great personal risk, by allowing this, and keeping it secret from the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. With the help of the embassy’s undersecretary and the East German diplomat Arnold Voigt, he and his wife succeeded in helping some 2, 200 people to leave Chile. Brotherus also helped 182 political refugees to obtain asylum in Finland. Heikki Hiilamo, who is now Research Professor at Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, describes the background of the Chilean dictatorship and the development of the broad-based solidarity movement, which has been characterised as one of the central formative experiences of the generation that grew up in 1970s Finland. The movement’s activists included future Finnish presidents Mauno Koivisto and Tarja Halonen, as well as the future Nokia CEO Jorma Ollila.

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