Disinfo: Prisoners were sent to gas chambers in Finnish concentration camps during WWII

Summary

The Investigative Committee of Russia has opened a criminal case on genocide in the Finnish concentration camps in Karelia. It was confirmed that 14 concentration camps operated on the territory of Finland during the Second World War, through which 24,000 people passed. Of these, 7,000 prisoners of war were shot, buried alive or sent to gas chambers. Eight thousand civilians were also killed.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation message focusing on Finland and Russia's Karelia during WWII.

In October 2019, Russia's Security Service FSB released "secret documents" about the conditions in the Finnish camps. In April 2020, more documents were published, and former prisoners of the Finnish concentration camps asked the head of the Russian Investigating committee Alexander Bastrykin to launch an investigation into crimes of the occupying authorities during the war.

While it is true that Russia's investigative committee has indeed launched such an investigation, the media outlet in question repeats its questionable claims without challenging them.

As an ally of Nazi Germany between 1941 and 1944 during the Second World War, Finland established several prison camps in the area now part of Russia. The researchers have studied the treatment of civilians detained in the Finnish camps established in the Finnish-occupied Soviet Karelia in WWII, and nothing suggests Finns aimed at genocide of the Russian or Slavic nations. The word genocide is frequently used in pro-Kremlin disinformation, but it seldom corresponds to the actual definition of genocide.

The director of Finland’s National Archives, Jussi Nuorteva, told tabloid Ilta-Sanomat that many of the documents published last autumn revealed nothing new, as Finland had already openly admitted to segregation based on ethnicity in the camps but whether it was ethnic cleansing remains debatable. "The allegations of the use of gas chambers and the burial alive of prisoners of war are absurd. Nothing of this kind came to light in the Allied monitoring commission reports, nor in Finnish archive sources, memoirs or the many studies of the occupation of East Karelia", according to Jussi Nuorteva on newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.

The Finnish military regime in East Karelia has been studied extensively in Finland. The National Archives of Finland has undertaken several large-scale research projects funded by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Academy of Finland, on topics such as the deaths of prisoners of war, mortality in civilian camps under the military regime of East Karelia, the handover of persons carried out by Finland between 1941 and 1955, the fate of the Ingrians, and the participation of Finnish volunteers in the German SS paramilitary organisation in violence in Ukraine and the Caucasus. More than 20 research monographs and many scholarly articles have been published as part of these projects.

The National Archives of Finland published a database of prisoners of war who died during the Winter War and Continuation War and of persons who died in civilian camps in East Karelia. This database is freely available online at http://kronos.narc.fi/index.html. The search instructions are in Finnish, Swedish, Russian, English and German.

“This is not a new problem either for Finland or for Russia. The issue of responsibility for Finland’s military policy was carefully studied in court after the war. The Allied Control Commission, where the Soviet Union was represented, chaired by Andrei Zhdanov, monitored the trial. As for judicial issues about the war between our countries, they were resolved in the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947," the Finnish Foreign Ministry stated.

War reparations amounted to the US $ 300 million, and after all, Finland was the only country after World War II to pay all reparations in full to the Soviet Union.

Read similar cases in our database claiming that Civilians in the Finnish concentration camps in Carelia are victims of genocide and that Finnish guards were paedophiles raping dying kids.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 197
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 23/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: USSR, Russia, Finland
  • Keywords: Historical revisionism, WWII, Genocide
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