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Friday, September 20, 2013 

Finland apologizes for anti-semitism during 1938 athletes competition

It's a small but noble step:
In a small but symbolic gesture, the Finnish Amateur Athletic Association (SUL) has apologized for revoking an obvious 100 meter victory from a Jewish athlete in Helsinki in June 1938.

"Any manipulation of the results is shocking and goes against our fundamental values in sports ...On behalf of the SUL, I present my sincerest apologies to those who have suffered injustices and to their families," SUL chairman Vesa Harmaakorpi said in a statement published late Wednesday.

[...] although anti-Semitism was not a very widespread political ideology in Finland in the 1930s, there were "anti-Semitic sentiments like in most European countries", historian Oula Silvennoinen said.

He said SUL's apologies come after "repeated pressure" put on the association, and noted that Finns "were long reluctant to examine or acknowledge events that took place in Finland during the German national-socialism era".
It's not new. Plenty of Europeans failed to recognize their mistakes, and still do. This is a positive step for now. But Finland and other European countries still have a long way to go.

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