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Presenter: Vaclav Chvatal, TAMUS Tachov Archives & Museum Society
This presentation outlines the reasons for Jewish migration from different parts of Russia to Finland and it chronicles the origins of the Jewish communities in Finland. This research is based on the complete documentation of Jewish gravestones in Finland, completed in 2007-2010. Nicolai's (the emperor of former Great Russia in 1830s) decision was to change Russia to one-language and one-religion (Christian-Orthodox) country. All other ethnicities had been recognized as "undesirable." They were forced to serve in the army and moved to the marginal parts of Russia, e. g. to Finland. So, in the end, Nicolai's political edict determined who would be Finland's Jews. The gravestone epitaphs yielded many interesting facts about the Jewish soldiers (e. g. the youngest was forced to serve at age of 8!) and about their places of origin (now mostly in Eastern Poland, Latvia, Ukraine, Russia).