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  • Writer's pictureVesa Oja

Berkeley 2006

4th Finglish trip September 2006 #13

" The first Finnish Hall, the Toveritupa, was built in Berkeley, California, in 1909. The hall, which became the Finnish American community center for the Bay Area, was the home of the Finnish Workers Association, a chapter of the Finnish Socialist Federation. During the Winter War in 1939 the Workers Association refused to support Finland in her desperate struggle against Soviet Union. After that most Finnish Americans refused to attend events in the hall. The Finnish Brotherhood Hall, built in 1933, which actively supported Finland's effort to remain an independent nation, became the Bay Area's new Finnish American community center. It is still home to the Finnish Lodge #21 of the United Finnish Kaleva Brothers & Sisters."

This is how Reino Hannula describes the history of the two Berkeley Finnish Halls in his book, "An Album of Finnish Halls", Finn Heritage, San Luis Obispo, CA, USA,1991.

Harry Antero Siitonen was born in Worcester Massachusetts 1926. His parents, Antti and Anna (née Saikkonen) moved to America in 1915. He has a degree in journalism from Michigan State University. Although he is retired from newspaper work, his own webpages are full of articles on the history of his own family and American labour movement, not mention his large output of translations and poetry.

Next Midsummer - Juhannus Sudbury Ontario Canada 2007

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