Author Sue Saffle explores the social and historical implications of World War II on Finnish children in this insightful discussion of her book To the Bomb and Back: Finnish War Children Tell Their World War II Stories (Berghahn Books, 2015).

Between 1939 and 1945, some 80,000 Finnish children were sent to Sweden, Denmark, and elsewhere, ostensibly to protect them from danger while their nation’s soldiers fought superior Soviet and German forces. This was the largest of all of World War II children’s transports, and although acknowledged today as “a great social-historical mistake,” it has received surprisingly little attention. This is the first English-language account of Finland’s War Children and their experiences, told through the survivors’ own words. Supported by an extensive introduction, a bibliography of secondary sources, and over two dozen photographs, this book testifies to the often-lifelong traumas endured by youthful survivors of war.


Praise for To the Bomb and Back: Finnish War Children Tell Their World War II Stories by Sue Saffle:

“Over a number of years, Sue Saffle has earned the respect of the war children in Finland and Sweden… to such an extent that she has been able to tap into a great source of social and war history. In addition, for many who contributed to the research, [this book] has the added element of being a form of personal catharsis. This is an excellent book which will add a great deal to the academic study of war children past and present.”
—Martin Parsons, University of Reading

Following the discussion, copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.

Co-presented with the Finland Center.

About Sue Saffle

Sue Saffle is a Senior Instructor in the English Department at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.  In 2014, she was awarded Virginia Tech’s University Sporn Award for outstanding teaching and was inducted into the institution’s Academy of Teaching Excellence.

From 2000 to 2001 she lived in Helsinki, where she began collecting the stories of Finland’s War Children. Her articles on the subject have appeared in the journal Children and War and in the collection Children: The Invisible Victims of War (DSM, 2008). To the Bomb and Back: Finnish War Children Tell Their World War II Stories is Saffle’s first published book.



Image by Linda Haglund/ASF

MON—3-7-2016—6:30 PM