Library book returned 69 years late due to damage caused during second world war


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The Independent Online

An elderly Estonian man has returned a library book 69 years late, partly because the library was damaged during a World War Two aerial bombing.

The book Kulmale Maale, by Eduard Vilde, was checked out of the Tallinn Central Library on March 7 1944 - when Estonia was occupied by Nazi Germany - and staff hadn't seen or heard about it since.

Ivika Turkson, who works at the library, said: "When he returned the book to the library he was extremely sorry, almost tearful, and terribly frightened about the fine of the overdue book. We were truly happy that the book eventually found its way home."

Even though the man, who is in his late 80s, offered to pay the late fee, the library waived the fees which would have come to just over £1400.

Although the Tallinn Central Library building was damaged in an air strike in 1944 - just four days after the book was borrowed - it remained open, and became a shelter for the librarians and nearby residents.