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No flowers for Eugen Schauman

Famous stairway off-limits to general public

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By Perttu Kauppinen
      "Last spring I picked up the biography of Eugen Schauman and realised that it has been a hundred years since his death. It struck me that it would be a fine thing to bring a flower to the Council of State building, to the place where Schauman shot Bobrikov", says Yngve Blomqvist, 71, from Helsinki.
      "I'm just an ordinary guy who is interested in history. I don't usually go for ceremony, but it would be a show of respect to a man who sacrificed himself for the good of the Finnish people. There is nothing more a person can give than his own life, even though some might call it an act of
Blomqvist is not the only Finn who is interested in the second-floor landing of the Council of State building. According to Timo Koskela, there are weekly requests to see the place where Bobrikov was murdered.
      Enquiries come from all over Finland, but they are all turned down. Access to the stairway will not be allowed even on the 100th anniversary.
      Even though Yngve Blomqvist is not able to have his wish granted, he is privileged compared to other Schauman-enthusiasts: Blomqvist spent his childhood and youth in the same building - perhaps even in the same apartment - as Schauman did before his death.
Schauman lived the two last years of his life as a boarder in a school of economics on the corner of Snellmaninkatu and Rauhankatu.
      The school was no longer there when Blomqvist was born in 1933. He remembers that the building had had a scrap metal business. There was also a merchant from Vyborg who sold pickled vegetables. Above all he remembered the large attic, where all sorts of interesting things could be found; he was even able to set up a boxing ring.
      "Then I saw an old photograph of Schauman's room in a book, and I noticed that it was a corner of my former home. My wife was somewhat sceptical, so I called Eugen's sister, Sigrid Schauman, who was still alive at the time. However, she also did not remember exactly which apartment Eugen had lived in."
Blomqvist tried to track down Schauman's exact residence from the building's records, but the last house manager had already died, and the records were nowhere to be found. The house was demolished in 1954, making way for an office building.
      "In my childhood there was no talk of Eugen Schauman. But it was interesting to grow up, live, and even get married in the house which Eugen left a hundred years ago to shoot Bobrikov. And I would have gladly lived there longer as well."
Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 15.6.2004

More on this subject:
 Finland shaken 100 years ago by murder of Governor-General Bobrikov

PERTTU KAUPPINEN / Helsingin Sanomat

  22.6.2004 - THIS WEEK

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