Lessons regarding the history of the Holocaust have been part of the Finnish school curriculum since the 1950s. Since 1993, the Finnish Holocaust Remembrance Association (HUM), an NGO open to all citizens, has worked to raise awareness about racism and anti-Semitism and to keep the memory of the victims of the Holocaust alive. In 2010, HUM became a partner of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. In 2016, the National Board of Education added a module to the national core curriculum dedicated to the historical and ethical context of human rights and crimes against humanity.
Formal Holocaust remembrance events have included commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day and periodic public educational events. Since 1995, HUM has organized Holocaust Memorial Day events on the same day as the Yom HaShoah (Days of Remembrance) in the Jewish calendar. Starting in 2001, the Memorial Day date changed to January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and in 2002, the Ministry of Education began to provide financial support for commemoration activities. In 2003, organizers held the memorial event at the University of Helsinki, where Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen gave the keynote speech. On April 1, 2019, HUM organized a seminar in Helsinki’s new Central Library Oodi to coincide with the publication earlier that year of an extensive National Archives report on the role of Finnish volunteers in the Nazi Waffen SS. The seminar included a film project about Finnish sailors in German concentration camps; the placing of commemorative markers, also known as “stumbling stones” (in German, Stolperstein) in memory of the Jews handed over to Nazi Germany; and the release of a new book documenting the life of a Holocaust survivor who settled in Finland.
The most significant recent public research regarding Finnish participation in the Holocaust was conducted by the Finnish National Archives following a public appeal from the Simon Wiesenthal Center to President Sauli Niinistö on May 31, 2018. In response, the Finnish Prime Minister’s Office initiated an independent probe into the role of Finnish Waffen SS soldiers in the killing of Jews and civilians between the years 1941 and 1943. The Secretary General of the Office of the President announced that any criminal activities uncovered during the investigation would be subject to possible prosecution. The National Archives published the report on February 8, 2019, concluding that Finnish volunteers serving in the Wiking Division of Germany’s Waffen-SS between 1941 and 1943 “very likely” participated in the execution of Jewish people and other civilians, as well as prisoners of war on the eastern front.
Finland does not host any research institute specifically focused on the study of the Holocaust and genocide. Finland maintains one public memorial site for victims of the Holocaust, located at Tähtitorninmäki Hill in central Helsinki. The site honors eight people whom the Finnish police deported to Gestapo custody in Estonia and ultimately to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Only one man, Austrian citizen Georg Kollman, survived. At the ceremony opening the memorial in 2000, Prime Minister Lipponen presented a public apology on behalf of the Finnish government and all Finns.