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The grave of Merchant Jaakko Häkli – Funerary Monument

Funerary Monument

Bronze relief
Eemil Halonen 1904
Sorvali Cemetery, Viborg Russia

Merchant Jaakko Häkli died in 1902 at the Nauheim spa in Germany, where he had been undergoing treatment for his illnesses. He was buried in Sorvali cemetery in Viipuri, where his burial monument made of grey granite by Eemil Halonen was unveiled on 21 August 1904. Around the same time, Halonen was working on his first commissioned works for Commercial Counsellor Juho Lallukka.

The gravestone is of natural stone, with a sculpted portrait of Jaakko Häkli on its front side along with Häkli’s name and his years of birth and death. Sculpted on the right side of the stone is an approximately one-metre high representation of a Karelian farmer lifting a torch up on high, mostly likely symbolizing Jaakko Häkli’s motto: ‘Forward and upward’. 

Jaakko Häkli’s monument disappeared during the Continuation War of 1941 –1944. It was discovered in 2007 and re-erected. 

Photograph: Jukka Sinkkonen

Merchant Jaakko Häkli (1848–1902)

Jaakko Häkli (1848–1902) was one of the first Finnish-speaking and pro-Finnish merchants in Viipuri, where the burghers and middle classes were traditionally very international, speaking German, Russian and Swedish. Together with his business partner, Commercial Counsellor Juho Lallukka (1852 –1913), Häkli was a leading patron of the arts and popular education.

Born at Kurkijoki in the Lake Ladoga region of Karelia, Jaakko Häkli was the only son of a wealthy rural shop owner who had originally been a poor tenant farmer. He had the opportunity to be educated at the Finnish School of Viipuri and Jyväskylän lyseo (Jyväskylä Lyceum) secondary school in Jyväskylä.

Jaakko Häkli successfully managed the shop at Kurkijoki, which he had inherited from his father. He was a progressively minded representative of the Estate of the Peasants at four sessions of the Diet of the Estates, 1882, 1885, 1888 and 1891. Häkli drew official attention, among other matters, to conditions on properties in the Province of Viipuri that had been donated to the Russian nobility, which impoverished the rural population of the region.

In 1891, Jaakko Häkli, Juho Lallukka and Vilhelm Paiseff (1862–1899) established the Häkli, Lallukka ja Kumppanit firm (Häkli, Lallukka & Co.), which became Finland’s largest wholesale and retail enterprise. Jaakko Häkli participated actively in municipal affairs and in the local Pamaus club of industrialists and entrepreneurs in Viipuri. He was also enthusiastically involved in educating and fostering Finnish-speaking shop owners and businessmen.

Like Eemil Halonen, Jaakko Häkli was a member of the Young Finnish Party. He was a staunch opponent of bureaucratic officialdom, a proponent of the use of the Finnish language and popular education, a supporter of Finnish-language secondary and commercial schools and the founding of public libraries. Häkli also took part in the activities of the local non-socialist, so-called Wrightian, workers’ association and served as its vice-chairman for several years. Jaakko Häkli loved the arts and generously supported Finnish artists of various genres, among others the poet J. H. Erkko (1849–1906).

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Location

Sorvali Cemetery, Viborg Russia
Ulitsa Shestakova, 28, Viborg, Russia
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