Author(s)
Simo Muir
Illustrator(s)
Publication date
2016
Publisher
Tammi Publishers
Format info
296 pages

No More Letters from Poland. Fatal Years for a Jewish Family

Ei enää kirjeitä Puolasta. Erään juutalaissuvun kohtalonvuodet

The story of the Blaugrund family amid the horrors of World War II opens a unique perspective on the holocaust and its effects in Finland.

During World War II, Bernhard Blaugrund received letters from relatives in the Polish ghettos at his offices in downtown Helsinki. The last of the letters arrived in January 1943. The letters and their gradual trickle to a stop tell a unique story about the annihilation of Poland’s Jews.

While the Finnish members of the Blaugrund family were living life as equals with their fellow citizens, their relatives in Germany-occupied Poland were stripped of their human rights. They ended up in concentration and death camps; only a handful survived.

Based on original interviews and never-before-published archival sources, No More Letters from Poland draws a comprehensive picture of the holocaust and, above all, how precarious life felt for Finnish Jews in a country that fought alongside Nazi Germany.

 

Topics seen and experienced by members of the Blaugrund family

Life and origin of Finnish Jews
Jewish life in prewar Poland, customs, antisemitism
Jewish refugees in Finland and their relief
Occupation and gettoization in Poland
Finnish Jews in the Finnish army during winter war (1939-1940)
Correspondence between ghettos in Poland and Helsinki
Life in Lodz Ghetto, ghetto elite and forced labour in factories
Finnish Jews during Continuation war (1941-44) and as brothers-in-arms with Nazi Germany
Siege of Leningrad
Finnish POW camps and labour camps
Liquidation of ghettos, Chelmno, Treblinka and Auschwitz
Murder of Jewish POWs in Lapland by Einsatzkommando Finnland
Deportation of Jewish refugees from Finland to Auschwitz
German labour camps
Hiding in Warsaw under false papers
Transfer of Jewish refugees in Finland to Sweden
Rescue plan of Finnish Jews to Sweden 1944
Liquidation of Lodz ghetto
Moscow Armistice between Finland and USSR
Death marches, escape
Liberation of Bergen-Belsen, Swedish DP camps
Reunion of surviving family members
Finnish Adoption schemes of surviving Jewish children
Kielce pogrom (murder of Blaugrund family member)
Finnish Jews assisting Polish Jews’ legal emigration
Starting new life after the Holocaust in Finland
Court case against chief of Finnish Security Police
Court of honour against a Lodz Ghetto leader in Helsinki

 

Reading materials

Finnish edition

 

Praise for the work

“The situation of Finnish Jews during the war was characterised by contradictions. Simo Muir’s book tells the unique story of the various stages of the Jewish Blaugrund family.” ­– Eeva Nikkilä-Kipula, Keskisuomalainen newspaper

“Does Muir’s work open up a broader window into Holocaust research? Indeed it does, particularly from a Finnish perspective. Muir questions the idea that Finnish Jews lived in a state of blissful ignorance during the war, safe and separate from the destruction of their people in the rest of Europe.” – Veli-Pekka Leppänen, Helsingin sanomat newspaper

No More Letters from Poland is an important book. It is a very concrete depiction of wartime life in both Helsinki and Poland, and of how people tried to keep in contact with one another. It does not try to play to the reader’s emotions, but it manages to do so in a crafty way.” – Kirsin Book Club literary blog

“The story of the various stages of the Blaugrund family also opens up a new perspective on the situation of Finnish Jews during World War II and shifts our understanding of the relationship of the holocaust to Finland. [—] In his book, Muir takes a broader and more profound approach than in previous literature, exploring how the presence of the Germans and the constant threat created by Nazi Germany were experienced within the Jewish community.” – Hakehila magazine

“I took Simo Muir’s book, entitled No More Letters from Poland, along with me [on a trip]. The book tells the story of a Jewish family that lived and still lives in Finland and Poland. [—] Muir’s book captivated me so strongly that I did not dare read it when I was about to switch trains or planes, as I feared I would miss my connection. The story truly hit its target; I was entranced. [—] Muir also sheds light on the history of Finnish Jews in a way that has not been done before.” – Prahan Keväässä literary blog