Lions in Hanko

Let’s take a quick look back at summer. On the few days we spent in Hanko on our sailing trip, I was drawn to the lion statues there.

The lions are part of the Hanko Independence memorial by Bertel Nielsson. It is situated in a grand place, right by the sea. History tells us that the statue has turned out to be controversial as it’s a memorial for the German soldiers who helped Finland during the civil war of 1918. The memorial was erected in 1921. When it was first built, it adorned a relief of a German soldier but the soldier hasn’t been seen since 1940.

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When Hanko was rented to the Soviet Union in 1940-1941, the Soviets pulled the memorial down. Once the Finns regained the town, parts of the statue were found and it was rebuilt in 1943. Then again, in 1946, The Allied Control Commission (also consisting of quite a huge number of Soviets) wanted it torn down. This time, the pieces were kept in storage and in 1960 it was erected again for the third time. Some people think that the relief of the German soldier should be restored and returned to the memorial but the Finnish National Board of Antiquities refuses.

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Apparently the two lions are called Aurora and Conrad and there’s a cartoon based on them. I noticed that they even have their own Facebook page!

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Have you spotted these statues in Hanko?

xx

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