In the context of the conversion of Osip Mandelstam, who was baptized as a Finnish Methodist, I quoted Vladimir Jabotinski, who in his novel The Five tells the story of a Jew from Odessa who contemplated conversion. He was given the advice to do “as everybody does” and go to Vyborg to see the Finnish Lutheran pastor “Pihko”.
The attached article by a Finnish theologian André Swanström analysis the story of Mandelstam’s conversion and also tell the story of several Finnish Lutheran ministers who baptized hundreds of Russian Jews around the turn of the century. Among them the most active one was a man called Arthur Pihra, who was disciplined, as were the others, by the diocesan chapters, for transgressions against Church law.
Thus it seems highly likely that Arthur Pihra is Pihko.
Internet site Delfi, 30.11.2017
Conversation with the former ambassador of Finland in Germany and Russia (summary)
René Nyberg in his book “The last train to Moscow” has described his mother Fanny Tukacier, who abandoned her Jewish identity in 1937 when against her father’s will she got married with a Finn of Swedish origin Bruno.
Latvian translation of the book was published in mid-November and the opening of it took place at the Finnish embassy in Riga. The title of the book and also one of the links with Riga is the fact that in June 1941 the last train went from Riga to Moscow in which there were Fanny’s cousin Masha and her husband Josef. The rest of his mother’s relatives who stayed in Riga were killed.
Newspaper Latvijas Avize, 15.12.2017
Interview with Finnish diplomat of 40 years’ experience René Nyberg
The book “Last train to Moscow” written by René Nyberg in 2015 had already 5 editions in Finland. In November Mr. Nyberg visited Riga in order to participate at the opening of this book in Latvian. It was published by the publishing house “Jumava”. This is a story about his family, about search of family roots, turns of the 20th century history and a little bit about diplomat’s work. The book revealed the life of the Jewish community of Finland in the first half of the 20th century in unexpected angle for the Finnish society. (Nyberg’s mother was Jewish)