”Hemma längtar jag bort, borta längtar jag hem.” Andra världskrigets finska krigsbarn i svensk barn- och ungdomslitteratur
AbstractFinnish child refugees of the Second World War in Swedish literature for children and youth. During and after the Second World War Sweden received around 70 000 Finnish war children. It was by far the biggest of all contingents of refugees during the war. The (often only Finnish speaking) children were placed in Swedish foster homes or in children’s homes. Most of them were sent back to Finland after the war but a big group also stayed with their foster parents. The movements from one home to another (some made this journey on more than one occasion) made many of them feel lonely, deserted and abandoned. In this paper I am going to discuss how the Finnish war children are depicted in Swedish books for children and youth from the war years up until today. After a discussion of the fl uctuations of interest in the Finnish child refugees in Swedish children’s books I will focus on how they have been depicted. What aspects have been focused on and what problems have been selected (or neglected) in different books at different times? I will also show how the treatment of the subject has been governed by a whole set of different factors: the age of the addressees, the choice of genre, the expanding research on the Second World War (and more specifi c the Finnish war children), the public debates on the treatment of (also contemporary) war refugees and not least the changes of the Swedish literature for children and youth, from the 1960s focusing more on social problems and developing towards a greater realism
Keywords: Second world war; Finnish children war refugees; Finnish children’s literature
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