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The famous Hietaniemi cemetery of Helsinki has one prominent Lithuanian-looking grave, marked by a sculpture of traditional Rūpintojėlis (sad Jesus) and a Lithuanian inscription.

Interestingly, the person buried there was not a Lithuanian but rather a Finnish professor Aukusti Robert Niemi who lived in 1869-1931, together with his wife.

Aukusti Robert Niemi grave in Finland

Aukusti Robert Niemi grave in Finland

His gravestone was built by Lithuanians in gratitude for Niemi's work in researching Lithuanian folklore. Before World War 1, when both Lithuania and Finland were ruled by the Russian Empire, Niemi visited Lithuania in order to write down its folk songs, writing down some 3000 of them. His Finnish works were even later translated back into Lithuanian and contributed to the researches there. At the time Lithuanian culture was greatly discriminated by the Russian Empire and it was uncommon for foreigners to do such extensive fieldwork in Lithuania itself.

The author of the Rūpintojėlis is a famous Lithuanian sculptor Bronius Pundzius; the gravestone was erected in 1933.

The location of Aukusti Robert Niemi grave in Hietaniemi cemetery

The location of Aukusti Robert Niemi grave in Hietaniemi cemetery

The inscription on the grave - available in both Lithuanian and Finnish - thus reads "To its dear friend - the Lithuanian nation".

As the sole truly Lithuanian heritage site / permanent artwork in Finland, Niemi's grave figures in the Lithuanian festivities in Finland.

The grave is at 60.171887, 24.908989.

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