Mostly, I talk about the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden as an entity but hosts sometimes ask me to treat the “Finnish situation” http://hdec.org/hdec/ separately.
Interest in Finland is even more heightened when I talk about how the Nazi Wehrmacht and SS troops fought side-by-side with not only Finnish but Jewish-Finnish soldiers. As co-belligerents (not allies) Germany and Finland shared a common enemy in the Soviet Union. At no time was Finland occupied by Hitler or Stalin.
More commonly known events such as the Danish King’s part in saving the Jews of Denmark, and actions by Raoul Wallenberg and Swedish Count Bernadotte with his White Busses (for the rescue of camp inmates) show audiences how history and culture continue to affect the way we still view human relations, specifically in the area of tolerance and the fight against antisemitism.
FIU, Florida International University, with its extensive Jewish Studies Program http://jewishstudies.fiu.edu/ has an easily-accessible interview with me on p. 3 of https://miamieuc.fiu.edu/newsletter/2015/january-february-2015/janfeb2015-updated.pdf. FIU also hosts a vast array of permanent and changing exhibits at its Jewish Museum located on S. Miami Beach.
War-related artifacts and well-documented stories make history come alive and, hence, my presentations include relevant visuals. Among them are pictures of a jovial-looking man appearing next to the infamous Heinrich Himmler during his visits to Finland. Who is this man and how did he influence history?
Norway may well be the second Nordic country causing my audiences to admit historical ignorance, such as Hitler’s concentration camps in the country he occupied on the same day as Denmark. I’ll also include visuals of emerging antisemitism leading up to that period:
To request a presentation, please email me at email@example.com