Marina Burstein was born in Helsinki, Finland. She is a graduate from the University of Helsinki, majoring in geography. Her MA dealt with Finnish Jewry 1840-1975. She researched into Jewish housing patterns of Helsinki and depicted Jewish migration through Finland 1840-1975. Marina works for the Jewish publishing house Hillelförlaget in Stockholm. She is a devoted limmudnik and has been instrumental in bringing the Limmud concept to Stockholm.
The Continuation war 1941-1944 – a kafkaesque dilemma for Finnish Jewry
As the Continuation war broke out in 1941 Finland suddenly found itself with a new ally i.e. Nazi-Germany. This meant a co-ordinated war effort regarding the eastern front of Finland and German troops on Finnish soil. It is estimated that around 250 to 300 Jewish soldiers had been drafted into the army and were serving on the front. What did these young men know about the policies of Nazi-Germany, how did they feel about it and how did they relate to a dilemma of this magnitude? On one hand a victorious Nazi-Germany would mean deportation and extermination of Finnish Jewry and on the other hand a victorious Soviet Union would lead to the demise of Finland as a sovereign state.
Around this dilemma Marina Burstein and Oula Silvennoinen are spinning their story – Marina whose father was one of those 300 soldiers serving on the front and Oula a historian who has managed to shed new light on this matter through his research into Finnish-German security police cooperation during the 1930s and the war years.