Name changes and visions of ”a new Jew” in the Helsinki Jewish community

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This article discusses an organized name-change process that occurred in the 1930s in the Jewish community of Helsinki. Between 1933 and 1944 in approximately one fifth of the Helsinki Jewish families (c. 16 %) someone had their family name changed. We argue that the name changes served two purposes: on the one hand they made life easier in the new nation state. It was part of a broader process where tens of thousands of Finns translated and changed their Swedish names to Finnish ones. On the other hand, the changed family names offered a new kind of Jewish identity. The name-changing process of the Helsinki Jews opens a window onto the study of nationalism, antisemitism, identity politics and visions of a Jewish future from the Finnish perspective.
TidskriftScripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis
Volym27 (2016)
Sidor (från-till)173-188
Antal sidor16
StatusPublicerad - 11 apr. 2016
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


  • 5202 Ekonomisk- och socialhistoria

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