Lego Hitler visits eastern Finland

Marshall C.G.E. Mannerheim celebrated his 75th birthday in 1942 in the eastern Finnish city of Imatra with Adolf Hitler in attendance at the festivities. Mannerheim was Finland's commander-in-chief at the time. This event has now been reconstructed in Lego form and put on display at a book shop in Imatra.

Ismo Aavaharjun Lego-rakennelma mallintaa Adolf Hitlerin Suomen vierailun tarkasti. Image: YLE Etelä-Karjala

The creation of this Lego set-up took several weeks. Ismo Aavahurja painstakingly worked on the details -- including the Steyr off-road vehicles Hitler brought as a present and the train he took to the occasion.

"Now everything should be in order," Aavahurja says.

Aavahurja's son also helped with the construction.

The exhibition is in honour of the 70th anniversary of the Vuoksenniska bookshop in Imatra. Other Lego creations by Aavahurja are also on display, such as an Imatra street in miniature and Yoda from Star Wars.

Surprise guest

Hitler's visit occurred in the middle of Finland's Continuation War with the Soviet Union.

"Another less desired guest was the Chancellor of the Reich, Adolf Hitler," writes the Headquarters Museum in Mikkeli ( Päämajamuseo) on its website.

Mannerheim had not wanted to meet Hitler at his headquarters in Mikkeli or in Helsinki, as it would have seemed like an official state visit. The meeting instead took place near Imatra and was arranged in secrecy.

Mannerheim was appointed as Finland's sixth president in August 1944. The Continuation War ended roughly a month later.