The challenge of returning home: the role of school and teachers in the well-being of Finnish war children, ‘Finnebørn’, during and after World War II

Pia Pannula Toft, Merja Paksuniemi, Johannes Westberg

Tutkimustuotokset: Kirjoitus lehdessä tai erikoisnumeron toimittaminenArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu


The purpose of this article is to clarify what kind of role schools and teachers played in the well-being of Finnish war children during and after the Second World War. The study focuses on the children who were evacuated to Denmark, also known as Finnebørn, and their experiences and memories as war children in Denmark and returning evacuees back home in Finland. All together, 11 former Finnebørn were interviewed for the research. The interview data was supported by other primary sources such as published and unpublished written material and newspaper articles. This article explores the roles schools and teachers played in the lives of the evacuee children; what kind of influence an individual teacher had on Finnebørn’s resilience processes; and finally, how schooling effected children’s well-being. According to our data, going to school played an important role in Finnebørn’s lives. In Denmark, the children’s integration to their new home country was facilitated by supportive and understanding teachers. Escaping the wars, and learning a new language did, however, affect the children’s return to Finland. Having lost their first language, the re-integration into the Finnish society could prove a challenge, to which the Finnish schools and teachers were not prepared for.
JulkaisuPaedagogica Historica
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 2 marrask. 2018
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli


  • War children
  • Children transports
  • Resilience
  • Schooling
  • Teachers
  • Second World War


  • Yleinen kasvatustiede
  • Historia ja arkeologia

Viite tähän julkaisuun