Comment: The first Jew to receive a permanent residence to live in Finland in 1832 was Jakob Weikaim, a tinsmith who moved from Latvia in 1799 at the age of 14.He was the first Jew that was allowed to move to Finland without converting to Christianity.
Until 1809, when Finland was still a part of Sweden, its former ruler promulgated a number of laws that permitted Jews to only settle in the following Swedish cities: Stockholm, Gothenburg and Norrköping.
The size of the Jewish community of Finland has always been small. In 1870 there were 460 in the country and today it totals under 2,000.
Sounding much of the arguments used by some parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) today, Finnish-language newspaper Uusi Suometar wrote in 1833 that Finland’s Jewish population would reach half a million within a hundred years due to high birth rates.
One of the most uncomfortable relationships that affected the Finnish Jewish community during the Continuation War (1941-44) was when Finland aligned itself with Nazi Germany. Even though Jews fought in the Finnish army sometimes alongside the Germans, it was pretty clear to some what would happen to them if the Nazis would have won the war.
While persecution of Jews in Finland was a far cry from Germany of the 1930s, there was anti-Semitism. Another factor that kept matters from escalating on this front was the fact that there were so few Jews. As in other parts of Europe, Jewishness was not encouraged.
Finland’s Jewish community is small, but active. Its small size and unique characteristics allow us to understand the migratory patterns of this community and to use the data to extrapolate the migration patterns in Finland to larger Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. Finland aligned itself with Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union 1941-1944. Finnish Jews fought in the Finnish army, occasionally side by side with the Germans.