Honoring Finland: Back to the Roots!
The cradle of Finnish liberation is located close to Kiel
The Republic of Finland joined our multinational organization in 2009 and was the first NATO partner nation to participate in a COE. Therefore, the bonds between the COE CSW and the Finnish Navy are very close indeed!
However, the connection between the armed forces of Finland and our Framework Nation Germany has existed for much longer. For over 100 years now Finnish history has been closely linked to the small village of Hohenlockstedt, the former location of a German imperial military training camp. This special relationship stems from Finland’s fight for freedom.
In 1915, around 200 young Finnish volunteers secretly deployed to the so-called ‘Lockstedt Barracks’ for Infantry training. In the spring of 1916, these troops formed the core of the ‘Königlich Preussisches Jägerbatallion 27’ and fought for their independence against the Russian Empire.
During World War I almost 2.000 Finnish ‘Jägers’ were trained by German soldiers in Hohenlockstedt. Their struggle was tough, but successful: Finland became a sovereign state in 1917. Hohenlockstedt is therefore, more or less perceived as the cradle of the Finnish independence and as a symbol of their struggles for freedom.
On 02 February 2017, the COE CSW staff paid a visit to Hohenlockstedt for a belated celebration of the Finnish National Day and to honour 100 years of Finland’s independence. The presence of the Finish Military Attaché, Captain (FIN N) Arvi Tavaila, enriched this event.
The half day trip included a visit to the Military Museum dedicated to the history of the ‘Jägers’ and a tour through their original accommodation building. The Finnish staff members of the COE CSW ended our visit to the museum by providing a brief overview over the past 100 years of Finnish history, highlighting their path of progress and prosperity after preserving their independence in World War II.
The COE CSW crowned the event with a solemn wreath laying ceremony to commemorate the Finnish ‘Jägers’ who were trained in Hohenlockstedt and gave their lives for the freedom of their great nation.
Despite the winter conditions outside, the visit was a very humbling experience for everyone involved, reminding us of the burning passion and determination of the brave Finnish people.
Captain Schmidt-Thomee, the Executive Director of the COE CSW, thanked the Finish representatives: “Thank you once more for the outstanding celebration of the Finnish National Day – all our staff members are really impressed and deeply moved indeed! We are extremely glad and honoured having you in our team.”