Oula Silvennoinen was born in Jyväskylä, Finland, in 1970. He is a graduate from the University of Helsinki, majoring in Finnish and Scandinavian history. Silvennoinen earned his doctorate in 2008, his thesis dealing with Finnish-German security police co-operation during the years 1933-1944. In this study he was able to establish that the Finnish security and military authorities maintained close contacts with their German counterparts, aiding the work of a hitherto unknown special detachment of the German security police, the Einsatzkommando Finnland, and thus participating in the Nazi ideological and racial war against the Soviet Union. The work has also been translated into German and Estonian.
The Continuation war 1941-1944 – a kafkaesque dilemma for Finnish Jewry
Oula Silvennoinen’s research has dealt with Finnish-German security police cooperation during the 1930’s and the war years, as well as with the relationship of the Finnish authorities to German policies of systematic mass murder and the Holocaust. In his studies Silvennoinen has mainly utilized the archives of the Finnish security police, which gives detailed and intriguing insights into the contradiction-loaded war-time position of Jews in Finland.
Finland and the Holocaust
For long regarded in both international and domestic research as a notable exception to a rule – an Axis partner which nevertheless did not participate in the Holocaust – Finland is in today’s research emerging as a less exceptional case. New research is looking for the ways Finland tied itself, as well as became tied to, Nazi policies of genocide and systematic mass murder. The session deals with Finland’s often contradictory and little known place in the scheme of things, and seeks answers to the question whether one could remain among the Axis countries but outside and untarnished by the most heinous of Nazi crimes.