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The Name

“Yad Hashmona” means Memorial to the Eight. Sometimes it is written as Yad Ha8.
The name was given by the founding settlers
in memory of eight Jewish refugees, who
escaped in 1938 from Austria to Finland, and who were surrendered by the Finns to the Gestapo in November 1942. It was a time when the Finnish government collaborated with Nazi Germany in opposition to the Soviet Union, in an attempt to recover the Karelia region - which Stalin had ‘stolen’ from the Finns in the “Winter War” of 1939/40.

The eight refugees were taken to Auschwitz, where seven of them
were murdered. The lone survivor, Dr. Georg Kolman, who lost his wife and baby son in the extermination camp, made aliya to Eretz Israel. The Finnish founders of the Moshav wished to somehow atone on behalf of their nation for the surrender of the eight to the Nazis, and they viewed their contribution to the Land of Israel as a public request for forgiveness.

Notwithstanding the Finnish government’s refusal to surrender all
of their Jewish citizens to the Germans, the action taken on Finnish
soil against the eight Austrian Jews remained a heavy burden on the
Finns’ conscience. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until November 2000 that the Finnish government and Church leaders dedicated a memorial to the eight in Helsinki. A monument was erected in the Observatory Hill, opposite Helsinki’s South Harbour, from where the refugees embarked on the death ship SS Hohenhörn. In the presence of representatives of the Jewish community in Finland, the Prime Minister, Paavo Lipponen, begged the forgiveness of the entire Jewish people.


 

 
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