Tallinn commemorates 1944 March bombing, war in Ukraine

Candles lit along Tallinn's Harju Street commemorating the March Bombing of 1944.
Candles lit along Tallinn's Harju Street commemorating the March Bombing of 1944. Source: (Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR)

Tallinn is commemorating the innocent victims of the March 9, 1944 bombing and the war in Ukraine on Wednesday.

A memorial service at the Siselinna cemetery, a concert in the Old Town's Church of the Holy Spirit and candle-lighting on Harju Street will mark the occasion.

The Estonian Institute of Historical Memory and the Estonian Heritage Society invites everyone to mark the events.  

The memorial concert in the Church of the Holy Spirit will begin at 6 p.m. and will be conducted by Gustav Peeter Piir, a pastor of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church.

A light and sound installation will be set up on Harju Street and candles commemorating the victims will be lit on the green area along the street at 7.15 p.m. Participants are asked to bring their own candles if possible.

A memorial service was also held at 12 noon at the burial site of the victims of the March bombing in the Siselinna cemetery, and a prayer service was led by the high priest of the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, Aleksander Sarapik.

Tallinn's Estonia Opera and Ballet House after the March 1944 raid. Source: Estonica.org/wikimedia commons

On the evening of March 9, 1944, the Soviet air force bombed the city of Tallinn.

A total of 1,549 buildings were destroyed and 3,350 damaged during two waves of air raids. This amounted to about a third of the city's residential buildings at the time.

Nearly 20,000 inhabitants lost their homes. Estonia, the national theatre, was destroyed and the Old Town was badly damaged in the Harju Street area.

The attack killed 554 Estonians.

Protest signs outside the Russian embassy on March 7, 2022. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

On February 24, Russia launched a war against Ukraine, bombing residential buildings and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals in Ukrainian cities.

The number of civilians killed and wounded in the attacks is estimated by the United Nations to have exceeded 1,000, and is increasing every day of the war.

Millions of people have fled the war in Ukraine, and many more have been displaced within the country.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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