Mrs. Maja Sandler, the wife of the Swedish foreigh minister, was one of the leading figures in saving Finnish children. She was chairwoman of the Centre for Finland’s Assistance (Centrala Finlandshjälpen CF) founded on 4-12-1939 to coordinate the arrival of children from Finland. It was a private organization with links to the Swedish government. In the first week after the Centre was founded, already 5 000 Swedish families responded to advertisments in newspapers and on the radio by announcing their willingness to take in children from Finland. Within two months the number of families rose to 15 000. The Finnish children were regarded as the right kind of refugees in Sweden. But the attitude towards Jewish children was totally different.
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POPUP: At first the Swedish attitude towards Jewish refugees was unsympathetic. This changed only a couple of years later, when Sweden received Jewish refugees from Norway and Denmark, countries that were under Nazi occupation. This operation helped to save almost all Danish Jews.
Sleepless as I was after the tragedy that happened Finland, the night between Saturday and Sunday I wondered, what Sweden could do to help Finland in its hard-pressed situation. I suddenly realized that in the first place we ought to do something for the small Finnish children
Maja Sandler after the war