John Lagerbohm & al.: Me puolustimme elämää. Naiskohtaloita sotakuvien takaa [We were defending life. The fates of women behind pictures of war]

21 April 2011 | Mini reviews, Reviews

John Lagerbohm & Jenni Kirves & Olli Kleemola
Me puolustimme elämää. Naiskohtaloita sotakuvien takaa
[We were defending life. The fates of women behind pictures of war]
Esipuhe [Foreword]: Elisabeth Rehn
Helsinki: Otava, 2010. 176 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-1-24660-2
€ 41, hardback

The women’s narratives of the Winter War (1939–40) and the Continuation War (1941–44) in this book are complemented by memoirs and academic writing, as well as journalistic extracts, personal recollections and interviews. It focuses on the status of women in wartime, showing that, in addition to the members of the Lotta Svärd auxiliary organisation, women carried a great deal of responsibility in a variety of roles, taking up traditionally male-dominated work in ports and mines. During the war years, the duty to work applied to all citizens aged 15 and up for whom various tasks could be assigned. One of the difficult jobs for ‘Lottas’ on the front line was placing the bodies of fallen soldiers into coffins and sending them home for burial. To maintain morale, it was important to the women to derive joy even from little things, and that humour comes through in this book as well. There is a wide range of photographic material, some of which comes from private collections.

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