Hundreds of children with Finnish fathers were born to Karelian and Russian women in the three-year occupation of Eastern Karelia during the continuation war, a report suggests. According to researchers who have studied child welfare records of the military administration, it is, however, impossible to put an exact figure on the number of “war babies”.
“The child welfare records show that 345 children were the offspring of Finnish men,” said researcher Marjo Koponen in a YLE report. “When you take into account that the fathers’ identity is unresolved in quite a large number of cases, and that the area was evacuated in the summer of 1944, you’re talking about at least 500 children,” he added.
The figures are being looked at as part of the National Archives’ ‘Foreign soldiers’ children in Finland’ project, but details are hazy as often only the baby’s name was recorded after births in Russian migrant camps.
“Some of these must have had a Finnish father,” said Koponen. “We know that dances were organised in the camps, and the majority of these children were born out of wedlock.”
Researcher Pekka Kauppala claims that the number of war babies could be even higher, as pregnant women were left behind in the remote state when the Finns left. “I would guess that there were around 900 of these kids,” says Kauppala. “Of course, some of them are still alive, as are some of their mothers, so this is not just a case for the archives.”