Blood Matters

Barbara Leolini Sari Kettunen

Danish School of Media and Journalism

During World War II around 80.000 Finnish children were evacuated from Finland, about 70.000 to Sweden and 4.000 to Denmark. Most were evacuated during the Continuations War.
The period of reconstruction after the war was difficult for Finland. There was a lack of food, clothing and housing all over the country and many families had been broken because of evacuation, death or divorce. This made it more difficult to bring children back to Finland after the war.
The foster parents had also often become attached to their Finnish children, and many of them wanted to adopt these children. After staying with their new families for several years some of the children had forgotten their biological parents as well as the Finnish language ñ their roots and sometimes children themselves did not want to leave their new families.
Although many families did want their children back, they did not succeed. Ultimately, around 20 % of the war children stayed with their forest families after the war. Many more returned to their countries as adults.
It was June 1942 when Kai Palom‰ki was sent as a war child from Finland to Denmark. He was seven years old. After six days and five nights travel he arrived to Hoptrup, a small town in southern Jylland, where he met his new Danish parents. He didn¥t know how long his stay would be. He spent 17 years without any connection with his Finnish family.

Kai's Finnish Parents