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Finnish refugee children’s experiences of Swedish refugee camps during the Second World War

Merja Paksuniemi


This article seeks to demonstrate how Finnish refugee children experienced living in Swedish refugee camps during the Second World War (1939–1945). The study focuses on children’s opinions and experiences reflected through adulthood. The data were collected through retrospective interviews with six adults who experienced wartime as children in Finland and were evacuated to Sweden as refugees. Five of the interviewees were female and one of them was male. The study shows, it was of decisive importance to the refugee children’s well-being to have reliable adults around them during the evacuation and at the camps. The findings demonstrate that careful planning made a significant difference to the children´s adaptations to refugee camp life. The daily routines at the camp, such as regular meals, play time and camp school, reflected life at home and helped the children to continue their lives, even under challenging circumstances.


refugee children; camp; Finland; Sweden; Second World War

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