Celebrities in Switzerland: Gustav Mannerheim
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Mannerheim, Gustav (1867 - 1951) Finland / President / VD

Marshal and statesman Mannerheim is one of Finland's most popular historical figures, incarnating the heroic resistance of the Finnish people against Stalin's attack in 1939-1940. President of Finland between 1944 and 1946, he retired to the Swiss mountains he loved so. Switzerland had always fascinated the marshal, who wrote to one of his friends: It's true that we carry the burden of our worries and pain, but if there is one place in the world where we can forget our troubles and find calm and rest, it's Switzerland.

The hero of the Winter War settled in Valmont, north of Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva. No where else in the world could he imagine finding such calm and serenity, a calm he needed to write his memoirs of a life intimately tied to the rocky history of twentieth-century Finland. The aging marshal saw Switzerland as a haven of peace with all the stability and independence for which he had fought his whole life.

He returned to Finland from time to time to vote. In Switzerland, he dictated his memoirs to his close associates and related descriptions and souvenirs of his life story and the history of Finland. Mannerheim was assisted by Colonel Passonen, former director of information services, who had also settled in Montreux.

Every day, the marshal went for a walk in Upper Montreux, where there is a splendid view over Lake Geneva and the Alps. His walk led him to the Steffen tea room, where he was in the habit of drinking a hot chocolate. Unfortunately, Mannerheim did not complete his memoirs before his death on January 28, 1951 in Lausanne. The illustrious marshal has remained a symbol of modern-day Finland's heroic resistance and strong will for independence. You can stand before a statue erected to his memory on the lakeshore in Montreux.

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