A1 Journal article (refereed)
Material Memories : Narrating and Reconstructing Experiences about Displaced Childhood during World War II (2022)

Koskinen-Koivisto, E. (2022). Material Memories : Narrating and Reconstructing Experiences about Displaced Childhood during World War II. Narrative Culture, 9(1), 109-128. https://doi.org/10.1353/ncu.2022.0005

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Koskinen-Koivisto, Eerika

Journal or series: Narrative Culture

ISSN: 2169-0235

eISSN: 2169-0251

Publication year: 2022

Volume: 9

Issue number: 1

Pages range: 109-128

Publisher: Wayne State University Press

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/ncu.2022.0005

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:


During World War II, about 70,000 Finnish children were evacuated to Sweden and other Nordic countries to stay in foster homes to ease the situation of Finnish families. In this article, I analyze narratives of a former Finnish child evacuee who was evacuated to Sweden and who lived in Swedish foster homes during two different periods. I scrutinize her experiences, stories, and personal documents about evacuation and everyday life in foster homes from the perspective of affective and material memories. I approach the retrospective reminiscence of displacement as a mixture of a child’s perspective and an adult’s reflection. During the interview, the narrator read letters she had written to her mother, which bring out everyday life experiences in the midst of conflict that anchor in the material world. The written documents, as well as the sensory and material elements of the oral storytelling, function as keys for rendering complex affective experiences. In this text, I analyze the process of reconstructing narratives of displaced childhood and transnational family history as part of personal memory work.

Keywords: war children; childhood; evacuation; foster homes; reminiscing; experiences (knowledge); personal narrative; reconstruction; materiality; letters; photographs

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2022-18-09 at 07:23