Herman Liikanen, garibaldino finlandese


Herman Liikanen
The Mortgage Association of Finland has decided to pay repairs of the marble bust of Herman Liikanen (1835-1926), a Finnish freedom fighter. The statue is situated in front of Villa Lante, Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, in Rome. It was demolished in summer 1984 when intruders after a failed break-in attempt turned their rage against it. The bust was carved by a Florence sculptor, Bino Bini, on the expense of his friend Roberto Wisi. Villa Lante

Villa Lante
(Institutum Romanum Finlandiae).

Herman Liikanen was born on the 13th of May, 1835, in a croft in the lake district parish of Ristiina, Finland. After starting in a primary school in 1849 in the town of Mikkeli (St. Mickel) he was later studied under a private tutor under the auspices of a local dean. Later he came to Helsinki to attend the famous private lyceum of Robert Erik Lagus. He, however, never passed his matriculation examination. At the age of 19 he took part in the Crimean war as a non-commisioned officer. After the war in 1855 he, however, was compelled to ask for a dismissal because of his failing health. After this he took a job as a private tutor in the parish of Räisälä and later as a warden of a Crown grain storehouse in Helsinki.

In 1859, when the Italian freedom war broke out, Herman Liikanen had his residence in the home of Dean Fröberg in the parish of Hiitola. There he had an opportunity to read German newspapers and to learn about the events in Italy. In 1861 Herman Liikanen decided to travel to Italy and join as a voluteer the Italian army. He was admitted to the Hungarian Legion, which was formed by Geral Türr to liberate Hungary from Austrian supremacy as well as in Lombardy and Venice in Italy. After returning to Finland he signed for a duty at Colonel Aleksander Theslöf. In 1864 he fighted in the Danish army against Prussia and Austria and was wounded while defending Fort Dybbel. For his merits in the Danish war he was decorated as Knight of Dannebrog, the highest distinction then available for a Danish soldier.

When he returned to Helsinki he was employed by the Finnish Mortgage Association on December 1, 1865. His employment in the association lasted nearly for 50 years in various assignments there. He was also a good friend and assistant to Dr. J.V. Snellman, a front-line Fennoman, philosopher and cultural person of the period and the chairman of the Board of the Association for 1869-1881. Mr. Liikanen was also a well known person in Fennoman meetings and clubs.

He was also a member of the Finnish Literary Society and a honorary member of the Fennoman Club. He died in Kuhmalahti on the 13th of April, 1926, and was buried in a solemn ceremony in Helsinki.(Source: Finnish Mortgage Association, 1986)

Translation by Pauli Kruhse.