Newspaper miracle!

By Art Jura | Jun 30, 2012
Raimo Partanen This photo was taken of Paula Penttila at a model of an old Karelian village, during Midsummer festival in Lahti, Finland. She is wearing the official Sakkijarvi dress.

SOUTH THOMASTON — I want to introduce all of you to a "newsy" story about the print media! Despite today's world of instant electronic communication that we all live in, I want to tell you about a small newspaper in Finland, which has paid subscribers in Finland, Sweden, Canada, Australia, and America! Everything in it is printed in Finnish, and it's name is "Sakkijarvi". If that is not unusual enough for you, it is only published 10 times per year, on the 10th of each month, except for January and June. This newspaper is in it's 67th year of publication. It is produced in a tabloid format, and looks much like our local "Free Press", except with far less pages.

The name Sakkijarvi, roughly translated, means "sack-lake". This represents the name of a former Finnish parish, now located far away in Russian Karelia. Sakkijarvi, and 49 neighboring parishes, were all lost to Russia after the wars in 1939-40 and 1941-44. As a result, 400,000 Finns became refuges. It has been estimated that a million Finnish citizens have their ethnic roots in that former segment of Karelia.

I am quite familiar with this newspaper, because I met the editor in 2004, when she visited Maine. Paula Penttila had submitted a photo of long-lost American relatives to the "Finnish American Reporter", and it was published in their October 2003 issue. It was soon identified by members of our local Hamalainen family, and I was asked to be the translator when she arrived. She is a great genealogist, and got to meet her great-granduncle and all the family! I later wrote about this in my book "Fenni-2". 

There is a saying that "what comes around, goes around"! It seems providential that the united Finnish-American groups in South Thomaston have been learning how to help members with their genealogical research. And now, our editor of "Sakkijarvi" has stated that she will help with these areas ceded to the Soviet Union.

Isn't it a small world?



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