Heidi Hautalan kirjoitti tänään osalle Euroopan parlamentin jäsenistä kirjeen, joka koskee parlamentissa tällä hetkellä järjestettävää valokuvanäyttelyä otsikolla: “65 Years of Peace 1945-2010”.[:]
Hautala viittaa kirjeessään yhteen näyttelyn valokuvaan (esittelylehtisessä kuva numero 15 ja näyttelyssä 15. kuva oikealta), jonka otsikko on “nuoria vankeja natsien keskitysleirillä vuonna 1944”.
Onnistuneen eurooppalaisen historian menneisyydenhallinnan kannalta on tärkeää ymmärtää, myös näyttelyn järjestäjien puolelta, kuvien käyttöhistoria.
Kyseinen kuva on otettu noin 23.6.1944 Petrozavodskissa Itä-Karjalassa. Kyse on suomalaisten pitämästä keskitysleiristä alueella, josta suomalaiset ovat tuossa vaiheessa vetäytyneet.
Hautala ei halua missään tapauksessa vähätellä eri maissa sodan aikana siviilejä ja sotilaita vastaan tehtyjä rikoksia. On kuitenkin epäselvää, halutaanko kyseisellä kuvatekstillä verrata suomalaisia keskitysleirejä, tai niitä hallinnoinutta valtiota, natsien leireihin.
Hautala toivoo ainoastaan samaa kuin näyttelyn avajaissanoissa todetaan:
“Toivon vain yhtä asiaa: sodan historiaa ei tule vääristellä”.
Dear Mr. Rubiks,
Dear Mr. Mastalka,
concerning the exhibition “65 Years of Peace 1945 – 2010” that is inaugurated today in commemoration and dedication (as recited in exhibition’s brochure) “of the victory of the anti-Hitler coalition, headed by the Soviet Union”, I would like to draw your attention to a small, but quite telling and emblematic detail.
Regarding the photograph number 15 of the brochure, which is displayed on the ASP 00 floor’s exhibition room as the 15th photograph when counting from right, the text insists the photograph shown stemming from the following historical context: “Young prisoners from a Nazi concentration camp 1944”.
Given the importance of the discourse regarding the governing of our common European past, and especially regarding its 20th Century as a “century of extremes” (Eric Hobsbawm), the least we could ask for is a careful historical scrutiny and a critical research based on using available sources.
Basing on historical facts, this aforementioned photograph was actually taken around 23rd of June 1944 in Petrozavodsk, Eastern Karelia (now Russia), on the coast of lake Onega.
The photographer, Galina Sanko, took the photo after the Finnish occupation forces had left the town. The photo was used in Soviet propaganda to depict the Finnish (commonly referred as fascists in the Soviet military history) atrocities as an occupant and thus widely spread in the literature.
I assume that the people responsible of assembling the exhibition are aware of this historical context.
The concentration camp did exist, although it was established and governed by the Finnish state, which was in war against the Soviet Union in 1939-1940 and – allied with Germany – during the years 1941-1944. It remains unclear, whether it is proposed in the exhibition that the Finnish concentration camps – or the state responsible of governing them – are to be equated with the Nazi camps.
Having said this, I do not in any way want to undermine the crimes that fell on the civilians and soldiers in various countries, like Finland – especially in and by the Third Reich – during the Second World War.
Based on the research done in the Finnish National Archives, 4279 civilians died during the years 1941-1944 on the concentration camps in Eastern Karelia (around 20% of all the captivities). The nature, context and historical causality of this tragedy have been debated during the recent years in Finland.
One of the girls in the photo (right corner, short brown hair) is still living today in Petrozavodsk – her name is Klaudija Njuppijeva (born Soboleva). In the following link you can see the whole photograph – the text in the sign being written in Finnish and Russian: http://agricola.utu.fi/keskustelu/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=783. The internet-site is a discussion page concentrated mainly on Finnish history, moderated by the Turku University in Finland.
Belonging to that part of the population that was not evacuated from the Eastern Karelia by the Soviets as the Finns proceeded deep into the Soviet territory in 1941, she and her family were deported to the camp that was located in Petrozavodsk. The living conditions in the camps were appalling during the years 1941 – 1942, nearing towards bearable in 1944.
After the war a large part of the remaining population in Eastern Karelia were commonly labelled as “fascist collaborators” by the Soviet regime. This meant that they were refused of the right being a member of the Communist Party, Komsomol, University education etc – basically making them second class citizens and outsiders in the Soviet society. As the Iron curtain fell down, the living conditions have been worsening in this remote and backwater area of Russia.
As it is stated in the opening words for this exhibition: “I wish for only one thing: that the history of the war not be distorted”. I fully agree.
MEP Heidi Hautala