Gallery: Candles lit to mark Soviet bombing of Tallinn

Tallinners and President Alar Karis lit candles on Thursday night to commemorate those who died in the March 9, 1944 bombing of Tallinn.

Candles, some wrapped with black ribbons, and flowers were placed along the street in the snow to commemorate the more than 500 people who died during the attack.

Karis wrote on social media that 79 years ago the Soviet Air Force bombed a large part of Narva, Tallinn, Tartu and other cities.

"Today, I'm not only thinking of the horror of the Second World War, but also on Russia's war against Ukraine. Bombs fall, families die, evil invades again," he said.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) also linked the past and the present, writing: "We see Russia using the same terror tactics today in Ukraine."

On the evening of March 9, 1944, the Soviet air force bombed Tallinn, causing extensive damage and killing residents, German soldiers and prisoners of war.

Harju tänav after the bombing raid on March 9, 1944. Source: Tallinn City Museum

Over the course of the night, pilots dropped 1,725 ​​explosives and 1,300 incendiary bombs on the Estonian capital.

Civilians and their homes were the main targets rather than military facilities located elsewhere in Tallinn. Nearly 20,000 inhabitants lost their homes. 

Over 1,500 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.

The Estonia Theater was destroyed and the Old Town was badly damaged, especially Harju tänav which now connects Vabaduse väljak and Raekoja plats.

The annual memorial event has taken place since 1989.

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


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Editor: Helen Wright

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