SS-fan Pekka Kääriäinen’s business under pressure in Berlin

Pekka Kääriäinen and his company “Bryggeri Helsinki” are under more pressure from Berlin based antifascist networks.

In January 2019 an article was published in the left-liberal daily newspaper taz, criticizing Pekka Kääriäinen’s appearance on one of Germany’s biggest annual trade fairs “Berlin International Green week” with his craft-beer company. The Berlin-based newspaper revealed Kääriänen as the chairman of the Finnish support organization for SS-veterans called “Veljesapu-Perinneyhdistys ry“ (“Brotherhood aid – Finnish Waffen-­SS veterans’ heritage association”) and asked administration of the trade fair as well as Kääriänen for their statements. Kääriänen claimed the organization has always been an apolitical support organization which tried to provide “correct information” about the Finnish SS-Volunteers. The trade fair administration stated that they won’t comment on his “personal activities”.

The claim this organization is an apolitical help-network loses its logical base due to the fact that almost no former members of the Finnish-SS-Battalion are still alive and it seems in general rather odd to pose like Kääriänen with his father’s SS-helmet , especially in the shade of the new revealed research. A study, which was initially conducted under Professor Lars Westlunds oversight and some of Finland’s best history researchers, was able to prove: More than 1400 Finnish SS-Volunteers have been in the beginning of the Second World War rather unaffiliated with Nazi ideology and were more interested in fighting against the Soviet Union. During the war, though, they became well aware of atrocities conducted by Germans and were also partly involved in atrocities against Jews and other civilians in the Soviet Union. The study is completely readable online.

It seems rather unexplainable why on one hand President Sauli Niinistö’s office initiated and supported the research and is on the other apparently mute about Pekka Kääriänen’s involvement in this absurd, nostalgic, fairytale-SS-fan organization. Kääriänen and Niinistö are both part of the Finnish National Coalition party (Kokoomus). For the modern Finnish society in 2019 it seems disgraceful, that an organization remembering a criminal organization and SS-volunteers should have a right to exist, while their victims seem to be forgotten in their cold graves.

Pekka Kääriäinen holding a helmet of SS-soldier.

While in Helsinki apparently no appropriate steps are taken in face of the new knowledge concerning the Finnish SS-Volunteers and its heritage organization, the antifascist network Berliner Bündnis gegen Rechts (Berlin against right-wing”) started campaigning against Kääriäinen’s brewery pub “Bryggeri Helsinki” in the East-Berlin district of Prenzlauer Perg. Last week over 3000 flyers were spread, informing the residents in German and English about the connections of Kääriänen and his SS-heritage association, proposing a boycott of his brewery restaurant. More info about Berliner Bündnis gegen Rechts new campaign can be found from their Facebook and Twitter.

Flyer in English spread by Berliner Bündnis gegen Rechts.

Since then more articles were published in German and Finnish media, covering the events. In an interview with a Berlin based newspaper Kääriäinen threatened the activists with legal consequences, leaving the question unanswered, what other crimes the activists committed than informing about his “non-political private activities”. The local campaign seems in no way intended to harm the work-life of the employees of “Bryggeri Helsinki” but forcing a conversation about the heritage and future of SS-heritage-organizations in Finland and the chairman of “Veljesapu”. Future developments will show if Kääriänen e.g.will be hold back by his party colleagues in Finland, when he is again repeating the fairy-tales that no Finnish SS-Soldiers knew about the atrocities or if he will be future wise successful with his business endeavors in the inner city of Berlin, in face of the local comrades further campaigning.