TALLINN – Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid on Monday lighted and placed a candle on Harju Street to remember the victims of the Soviet aerial bombing of Tallinn on March 9, 1944.
"Today, I placed a candle on Harju Street to commemorate the victims of the March bombing," Kaljulaid wrote on Facebook.
After the near complete destruction of the northeastern city of Narva on March 6, 1944, the bombing of Tallinn on March 9 was the largest World War II air attack in Estonia. As a result of two raids by Red Army bombers, 1,549 buildings were destroyed and 5,073 damaged, leaving 20,000 people without a roof over their heads. A total of 554 Estonian civilians, 50 German soldiers and 121 prisoners of war were killed.
The raid caused irreparable damage to Tallinn's medieval Old Town around Harju Street. The Niguliste Church, the Tallinn City Archives in the nearby Ruutli Street and the Town Hall caught fire and the Estonia Theater burned down.