View Full Version : Route from North America to Soviet Karelia?

05-06-08, 12:05

my question is about the routes which American Finns took as they moved from the USA/Canada to Soviet Karelia in the 1930s. Are there any (free) databases where I could check the place of departure?


05-06-08, 23:46
I know two people who made the trek from the United States to Karelia in the 1930s. One, an uncle, has died. The second is an elderly gentlemen in New York State, whose story can be found in the newsletter of the Finger Lake Finns (available on line).

I'll get back to you in a couple of days, after I go through my files. Then, I may have more complete information for you. My recollection is that at least one of these men somehow travelled via Hamburg. Men jag måste kontrollera urkunderna.

L Backlund

June Pelo
06-06-08, 01:43
Mayme Sevander wrote three books about the Finnish people who went to Karelia in the 1930s. I'm sure the journey was described in these books, if you have access to them:
They Took My Father
Red Exodus
Soviet Bondage

She also lists the names of people who traveled and their fate, if known. I may be mistaken, but I thought the Genealogical Society of Finland (Finngen) was compiling a list of names of those people.

June Pelo
06-06-08, 01:47
Here is a site to find the names of Finns and Karelians executed:
http://www.genealogia.fi/emi/indexe.htm in the menu at the left find the list of executed Finns in Karelia.

06-06-08, 13:46
Ok, thank you L Backlund and June.

In the library there is at least one of the books of Mayme Sevander. I actually checked the names in it but the list didn't include my gguncle who left the States and went to Sovie Karelia. He somehow managed to come back to Finland in the late 1930s.

The reason why I'm asking this is that there is a story in my family that he had had a girlfriend of Finnish background during the years in Soviet Karelia. This woman had a child called Impi. The story goes that they would have come to Soviet Karelia about the same time than my gguncle. We don't know if she and her daughter came from the States or Canada. I find it interesting to find it out who she was. According to the story, the woman and the child died on the lake Ladoga because of a Russian airstrike.

There is also a Laiho list on the Internet but I'm afraid there aren't these two names mentioned. I'm going to contact the National Archives of Karelia someday but before that I would try to find less expensive sources.

To know the place of departure from the States/Canada and to find some documents of those people might be helpful.

Karen Douglas
06-06-08, 22:57
Rik Laiho has made several trips to Finland in an effort to learn more about the Karelian Exodus and to try and help families of missing Finns - on both sides of the ocean - find out what happened to their relatives during this horrendous time in history. Rik is a member of Finlander Forum so if you have any questions, I am sure he would respond if you sent him a private message.

About three years ago, I did a book review on "Karelian Exodus" for the Finnish American Reporter. It was published in 2004 by Aspasia Books. Compiled as a special issue of the Journal of Finnish Studies, it contains 12 well-researched and documented articles penned by 15 highly respected scholars, journalists, academics and historians. Their names and credentials appear at the end of the 226-page book.