U.S. Embassy, Tallinn, March 9, 2011
U.S. Ambassador and Mrs. Polt joined in a memorial candle-lighting this evening held in remembrance of the victims of the Soviet bombing that devastated Tallinn sixty-seven years ago today.
Tallinn was tragically in the crosshairs of Soviet long-range bombers on March 9, 1944. The attack stands out for both its devastating loss of life and limited military efficacy. Though hundreds of Soviet bombers dropped thousands of explosive and incendiary bombs on Tallinn, the limited military targets within the city survived largely unscathed.
The same cannot be said for the citizenry and culture of Tallinn; approximately 800 people-the vast majority of whom were non-combatants-were killed; hundreds more were wounded and scores of thousands were left without shelter in the midst of an Estonian winter. Moreover, the Estonia Theater, St. Nicholas Church, the city's synagogue, and the Tallinn City Archives, which housed a collection of medieval documents, were all destroyed in the bombing and ensuing inferno.
Rather than breaking the spirit of the Estonian people, however, the attack strengthened the already steel resolve of the populace to struggle against foreign occupation. Today Estonia is a strong, peaceful, and sovereign nation that remembers the past, but lives for today and for the future; a time when old conflicts can be overcome and even some old enemies have become new allies.
Remembering the Victims of the Bombing of Tallinn