Monday, August 1, 2011


"Eugene Day" in Finland

Name Day

In Finland the 16th June every year is “Eugen Day”.  Finland had suffered because of the one hundreds years of Russia occupation, “The Dark Years”.  Governor-General Nikoli Bobrikoff was sent by the Czar, Nicholas the II Russianize Finland.  Under his orders their home rule was taken away, Russian schools were replacing Finish schools, boys were being recruited into the Imperial Army, a great number were simply killed, or sent to prison in Siberia.  My grandfather left Holms to escape being inducted into the Imperial Russian Army. 

The name, Eugene is celebrated because in 1904 “Eugen” Schauman, a Nobleman walked into the Parliament building in Helsinki and killed Nikolai Bobrikoff  then of course he had to kill himself before the Russians did.  Of course the Russians called Eugen a murderer, a terrorist but the word insurgent was never used until Bush used it in the invasion of Iraq. 
  There was much rejoicing in Finland, everyone was so happy.  The Russians began arresting anyone who seemed happy.  The charge was “unmotivated happiness”.  My grandfather and most of his family had already left the great and beautiful Holms Farm to come to America because of him. 
When the Czar suspended Parliament the Finns just quit working, everyone stayed home.  Factories all shut down, no trains, not even a farm cart went down the road.  Civil disobedience and a new war with Japan caused the new “Governor-General to rethink what they were doing to Finland and the problems they now had.  Why train people to be soldiers when they may fight you.  Allowing Finland to govern themselves seemed much better than sending more occupying soldiers in.  but it took until 1917 when the Russians were sent back home.  Driven out for the 40th time.  "'Independence Day" is celebrated the 6th December every year.  But there was a Civil War to mar the occasions, the "White Red War".  Bitterness is still felt even today.  I remember talking to a few old soldiers when I was over there.
Is Eugen, a Finish Hero or a Russian killer?  I believe Eugene is "Hero" and hate Russia as much as grandpa did.   Finland once awaken began looking again for the freedom it lost 100 years ago.  Those years are called the "Dark Years" but Russia will always be a threat.  Many times when I gave my name as Eugene, I would get a smile and a hug.  They pronounced Eugene as “Ojen”.  Now I know why I was named, Eugene, but it took a trip to Finland to find out.  I found out many things about myself and my family.  I was 77 years old before I got the whole picture.  I usually went as Gene but now I am very happy to be called, Eugene. 

I will always remember the kind treatment I received in Finland.  I was able to communicate with the older generation with what little Swedish I knew. The younger kids were fluent in about five different languages.  My mother, Signe Elisabet Holms had always thought that we all are relatives were dead but I found them all happy and well.

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