From Silence to Recovery

Traumatic Home Front Memories of the Soviet Partisan War in Finland

Keywords: Soviet partisans, personal narrative, trauma, oral history, remembering


A paramilitary forces of Soviet partisans attacked villages and remote houses in the Finnish eastern borderlands during the Continuation War 1941–1944. They burned the houses, stole food and cattle, and killed women, children and elderly people. After the war, the actions of Soviet partisans against civilians were not discussed openly and extensively in public before the late 1990s. The long period of silence slew down or prevent the recovery from traumatic experiences. However, the villagers found their ways to remember and tell about the past events. This article discusses the personal narratives of those violent and traumatic events and the process of recovering from the consequent crisis after 70 years afterwards. The narratives are told by civilians who have had personal experiences of the actions of Soviet partisans, or who have heard about them since childhood. The research is based on an oral history approach and seek to explore how the individuals interpret the meanings of fearful and traumatic memories in their narratives, and how they think these memories have influenced them. The article points out the role of remembering and narrating in the subjective and social process of recovering from painful and traumatic experiences. 

Dec 25, 2018
How to Cite
Laurén, K. M. (2018). From Silence to Recovery: Traumatic Home Front Memories of the Soviet Partisan War in Finland. Ethnologia Fennica, 45, 4-27.