Sodan kasvattamat [Brought up by war]

6 May 2011 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Sodan kasvattamat
[Brought up by war]
Toimittaneet [Ed. by]: Sari Näre, Jenni Kirves and Juha Siltala
Helsinki: WSOY, 2010. 464 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-0-36733-9
€ 34, hardback

This volume is a collection of personal historical accounts relating to child-rearing and youth during the Finnish Winter and Continuation Wars (1939–1944). In the war years, 60,000 children were orphaned and nearly 80,000 were evacuated abroad, mainly to Sweden; in relative terms, this was a greater proportion of the nation’s children than were similarly affected anywhere else in the world. Some 150,000 children lost their homes in bombing raids or in the Finnish evacuation from the region of Karelia. Finland’s agrarian society taught these children to be obedient and to get by without assistance from adults. The Finnish civil war of 1918 had its effects as well: people did not talk much about their emotions. In circumstances where disciplined sacrifice was emphasised, young people found solace in games, sport and working. Researcher Ville Kivimäki speculates that the widespread experience of an unprotected childhood may have led, at least in part, to Finland’s establishing a social welfare state after the Second World War, as a kind of compensation. The material draws on earlier research, archived personal accounts and memoirs as well as numerous new in-depth interviews.
Translated by Ruth Urbom

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