|Born||13 Mar 1882|
|Died||27 Oct 1947|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseFanni Luukkonen was born to Olli Luukkosen and Katariina Sofian Palmgren in the Grand Duchy of Finland in 1882. She graduated from secondary school in 1902 and became a primary school teacher in 1906. When the Russian Empire collapsed in 1917, Finland, which was an autonomous state within Russia at the time, broke out into a civil war in 1918. After the civil war ended, she joined the Lotta SvÃ¤rd, a voluntary auxiliary paramilitary organization created in Nov 1918 to help rebuild the country. The general mission of the Lotta SvÃ¤rd was to provide nurses for the Finnish civil White Guard, to help care for the horses employed by the White Guard, to help gather food and warm clothing for the front line troops during war time, to provide clerical workers for the government and the military, to raise funds for disaster relief, and other non-combat work. In 1921, she was elected the secretary of her regional Lotta SvÃ¤rd district. In 1925, she was promoted to the central board. In 1929, she was unanimously elected chairman of the organization. Under her leadership, the organization grew from about 60,000 members to 232,000 in Nov 1944. Although between 1939 and 1944 Finland was an active participant in the war, Lotta SvÃ¤rd remained largely an unarmed organization until the final months of the war when an anti-aircraft battery operated entirely by women of Lotta SvÃ¤rd was established in Helsinki, Finland. In Jun 1940, she became the first woman to be awarded the Order of the Cross of Liberty 1st Class; the medal was awarded with the red band reserved for war-time decorations. In Oct 1941, she attended an international women's conference in Berlin, Germany, joining representatives from Germany and German-aligned nations including Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Croatia, Japan, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Romania. She visited women's organizations in Hungary, Denmark, and Sweden in Jan 1942. In 1943, she attended an exhibition in Berlin of art created by Finnish women; during this trip, Adolf Hitler awarded her Order of the German Eagle. In mid-1944, she was awarded Swords to her Cross of Liberty 1st Class. Lotta SvÃ¤rd was disbanded on 23 Nov 1944 by Soviet demand. With a small pension, she retired from public service. Luukkonen passed away from a heart attack in Helsinki in 1947. She was buried in her family cemetery.
Last Major Revision: Feb 2015
Fanni Luukkonen Timeline
|13 Mar 1882Â||Fanni Luukkonen was born in Oulu, Pohjois-Pohjanmaa, Finland.|
|19 May 1943Â||Fanni Luukkonen was awarded Order of the German Eagle by Adolf Hitler.|
|23 Nov 1944Â||Fanni Luukkonen stepped down from her position as the chairman of Lotta SvÃ¤rd as the Finnish organization was forcibly disbanded by the Soviet Union.|
|27 Oct 1947Â||Fanni Luukkonen passed away from a heart attack in Helsinki, Finland.|
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