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Congratulations Paulina

In celebration of National Volunteer Week, Estia Health are delighted to share this wonderful story regarding one of our residents Paulina, who was this week awarded the decoration of the Orders of the White Rose in recognition of her volunteer work during the Second World War. Paulina was born 22nd July 1919 in Finland. Paulina met the love of her life, Ken, at the age of 20. Paulina was taking her grandmother to a safe place travelling by train when she met Ken. They started talking on the train and Paulina instantly fell in love with Ken’s brown eyes. It was love at first sight. They married a month later in a Church in Finland. Ken’s mother made Paulina a wedding dress out of blue curtains as they couldn’t purchase material due to the war. They honeymooned for 4 days before Ken had to return to the war. Paulina spent her time working in a military area dedicating her time to volunteering in a hospital as a Lotta. Lotta Svard was originally formed during the Second World War as a Finnish auxiliary paramilitary organisation for women. Formed originally in 1918, it had a large membership undertaking volunteer social work in the 1920s and 1930s. It was formed to support the white Guard. During the Second World War, it mobilized to replace men conscripted into the army. It served in hospitals, at air raid warning positions, and other auxiliary tasks in close cooperation with army. The women were officially unarmed except for an anti-aircraft battery in 1944. Virtanen argues that, their “accountability to the nation took a masculine and military form in public, but had a private, feminine side to it including features like caring, helping and loving. The organisation was suppressed by the Government after the war. During her time as a Lotta, Paulina dedicated her time to helping talk to soldiers in hospitals, writing letters for them and helping the injured into Air raid shelters. Paulina later became pregnant whilst living in a military confinement with her husband. When Ken had to return to war, Paulina moved in with her in-laws who looked after her. Ken was later shot in the leg and was in hospital, the same hospital Paulina was in whilst having her baby. Ken was offered a job in Australia and the family moved here when Paulina was 40 years old. Paulina said “Australia has been very good to my family and I. And I’ve nearly made it to 100 years due to living here and being looked after by everyone here at Estia Knoxfield”. On Wednesday Paulina was awarded the decoration of the Orders of the White Rose by the President of the Republic of Finland, The HE Ambassador from Canberra. The ceremony took place at Estia Knoxfield where Paulina was joined by all her family to celebrate this memorable event. We are delighted to have been graced by Paulina’s company over the years and look forward to many more!

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