Migration patters among Jews – Finland

by , under All categories, Enrique

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.

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  1. Klay_Immigrant

    You’re reaching a new low here Enrique, so not only is Finland racist to anyone who doesn’t look Northern European but anti-semitic?

    Why don’t you understand that Finland aligned itself with Germany in the Continuation War merely to re gain the land it lost after the Winter War and nothing else. Finland did not want to conquer new land they never held hence purposely never participating the siege of Leningrad with Germany. Learn your history! Don’t you realise that at that time Finland’s independence was at serious risk, so desperate measures had to be taken. The allies were never ever going to help Finland, even declaring War on Finland to appease Stalin.

    Why don’t you ever mention Sweden’s role during WWII? Although offcially neutral they assisted Germany by exporting Iron ore to continue to build the Nazi War machine and also allowed German troops to cross their land from occupied Norway to Finnish Lapland. What about the present day situation where the Swedish authorities are turning a blind eye to the intimidation and sometimes violence against Jews many of whom fled the Nazis, in cities such as Malmo where they are completely outnumbered by Muslims? But ofcourse in your eyes Sweden is always innocent, Finland on the other hand always guilty and you call yourself a Finn, shameful.

  2. BlandaUpp

    I was really ashamed when a few months ago our only Jewish member of parliament, Ben Zysowicz, the son of a Holocaust survivor, who happens to also be married to a Finnish Muslim Tartar woman, was attacked in the street by a Hommaheppu.

    People like “Klay” disgust me. Always trying to draw attention away from their own ideological problems and searching for a boogeyman somewhere else. All their anti-Muslim, anti-multiculturalism bullcrap doesn’t fall on deaf ears. In a Post-Breivik world I choose to have a zero tolerance for these a-holes!

  3. Klay_Immigrant

    Ok ‘BlandaUpp’ since I ‘disgust’ you, please explain what I have said 4 posts above to be untrue? This is the problem with you, Enrique and fellow like minded individuals, you throw insults like racist, islamophobic, or xenophobic out of context to the point where those words are used so often they are rendered meaningless but never explain why the arguments you disagree are wrong in an objective manner with facts and statistics.

  4. Martin-Éric

    There is this often told story of how, during WW2, a German officier had his life saved by a Swedish-speaking Finnish officer, only to be told that the officer in question is a Jew. Yet, he apparently couldn’t stop thanking the officer for saving his life, insisting that he is a good man and that the other Jews that Germany is against are an entirely different breed.

  5. BlandaUpp


    Do you live in Sweden or Finland? Is Enrique speaking about Finland or Sweden?

    Why do you try to distract from the issue at hand, the experience of Jews in Finland, instead of speaking about totally unrelated events in a different country? Are you ashamed to speak about the treatment of Jews in OUR multicultural country?

    Since you insist on speaking about Sweden, here’s a headline from a few days ago that kicks sand in the face of your bigoted claims and shows that idiots like you and your Fjordman/Wilders/Halla-aho comrades like Anders Breivik are a bigger threat to peace in our Nordic societies than any other group:

    “Sweden’s Jews, Muslims face web hate rise” http://www.thelocal.se/35692/20110822/

    ““Sweden as a whole is a tolerant country but this report shows that racism is growing and is being professionalized on the internet. There is today a small but growing minority that harbour hatred against Muslims and Jews,” minister for integration, Erik Ullenhag, wrote in a statement on Monday.

    The report, which was requested by the government and carried out by the Forum, also shows that an increased number of racist web pages have been created in recent years and that prejudice is being spread through schoolbooks.

    According to the report, the number of racist sites in Sweden has almost doubled in two years. In 2009 there were around 8,000 xenophobic Swedish sites whereas today the authors of the report estimate an increase to 15,000.

    This follows a EU-wide trend where right wing extremist groups are using the internet to spread hate-propaganda.

    According to the report, these are characterized by anti-Semitic and Islamophobic views, where conspiracy theories are the most recurring elements.

    The Jewish group is often cast as world conspirators whereas the Muslim group is seen as physical occupiers, actively are on their way to taking over society through mass-immigration and rising nativity figures.

    The Jewish community in Sweden consists of some 20,000 individuals and the Muslim community of 300,000. Fresh crime statistics show that there were 161 reports of crimes with anti-Semitic motives and 272 with Islamophobic motives last year. “

  6. BoredinFinland

    Poor Klay he or she does not realize that if the situation continues like what we have in present time, in a near future, they will tell him or her that she or he is not FINNISH! because he is not 100% white, with 100% Finn name, with 100% Finn blood, etc….you will end like the Jews during the second world

  7. Mary Mekko

    Enrique, why IS the Jewish population so low in Finland? That would be interesting to hear. Are they anti-Finnish and prefer to emigrate to USA rather than Finland when leaving USSR? I understand that many were Russian Jews within the old Russian Finland, simply staying after being posted there by the Russian army. I met one descendant thereof on my last visit, a very funny fellow by the last name Alta, which he said was a modification of a Jewish name. Perhaps the actual living to be gained was pretty poor, no motivation for a Litvak Jew to leave the usual Pale of Settlement to wind up in another poor part of empire.

    Perhaps there are more Jews under Finnish-modified names than actually get counted, for reasons of their own.

  8. BlandaUpp

    Hi Enrique

    Something that “immigration critics” and general Islamophones tend to do is make blanket statements devoid of facts. It’s similar to what the Nazis did quite effectively before WWII to make people hate Jews and justify their bad treatment in Europe. I would like you to do a post about “facts” and “FACTS” quoting these recent reports relating to terrorism :
    http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/01/terrorism-in-europe/ http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/01/not-all-terrorists-are-muslims/