Adolf Ehrnrooth

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Adolf Erik Ehrnrooth
Adolf Ehrnrooth, 1963.
Born (1905-02-09)9 February 1905
Died 26 February 2004(2004-02-26) (aged 99)
Buried at Hietaniemi cemetery, Helsinki
Allegiance  Finland
Service/branch Finnish Army
Years of service 1922–1965
Rank General
Unit 7th Infantry regiment, 2nd Division
Battles/wars Winter War
Continuation War
Awards Mannerheim cross

Adolf Erik Ehrnrooth (9 February 1905, Helsinki – 26 February 2004) was a Finnish general who served during the Winter and Continuation wars.

Early life

Born in Helsinki, Ehrnrooth entered cadet school in 1922 and served in the Uusimaa Dragoon Regiment (Uudenmaan Rakuunarykmentti). In 1958 he married a Danish countess Karin-Birgitte Schack who was a lady-in-waiting and a close friend of Queen Ingrid of Denmark. They had three children: Karin, Hans and Eva.

Military career

During the brief Winter War against Russia, he served on the staffs of the 7th Division and the Cavalry Brigade. When the Continuation War, also against Russia, broke out in June 1941, he served as the chief of staff of the 2nd Division until he was seriously wounded. After he recovered he was appointed to lead the 7th Infantry regiment (JR 7) of the 2nd Division. During the battles on the Karelian Isthmus, he was awarded the Mannerheim cross.

After the war, he led an active military career until he retired in 1965.

Adolf Ehrnrooth inspecting troops only a few days before Soviet mass offensive in the summer of 1944.

Later life

Adolf Ehrnrooth was the face and voice most associated with rehabilitation of the soldiers who secured Finland her independence. The long post-war era during which it simply was not progressive to value the military ended in the early 1990s, at which time his charismatic persona was at its height.

He became a figurehead for the whole veteran community—straight-talking and unapologetic. When he found out that many nationalist youths cited him as an idol, he blasted them squarely by saying that he might have in his own youth held nationalistic views, but that Finland's path was now in the European Union, a view the nationalists did not hold.

Voice impressionists have found his idiosyncratically emphasized speech patterns and overheavily guttural snarls a rich ground to harvest. For them he is one of the indispensable voices.

File:Ehrnrooth grave helsinki.jpg
The tombstone of General Adolf Ehrnrooth at the Hietaniemi cemetery in Helsinki

In his last statement he gave support to ProKarelia (Finnish NGO) and its plan for the Return of Ceded Territories. He said that he defended the borders of Finland declared in the Treaty of Tartu and considered them the only proper borders of Finland and that it was great injustice that the Soviet Union had taken these territories.

General Ehrnrooth died on 26 February 2004, and is buried in Hietaniemi cemetery, Helsinki. He was voted as the 4th greatest Finn of all time by the Finnish public during the Suuret suomalaiset (Great Finns) competition in 2004.[1]



  • Karin Ehrnrooth: Isäni oli nuori sotilas / Min fader var en ung soldat – Adolf Ehrnrooth, Ajatus Kirjat 2008, ISBN 978-951-20-7497-6
  • Adolf Ehrnrooth − Marja-Liisa Lehtonen: Kenraalin testamentti, WSOY 1995.
  • Ulla Appelsin: Adolf Ehrnrooth, Kenraalin vuosisata, Ajatus Kirjat 2001.