Last week, an Estonian man in his mid-80s returned a book to the Tallinn Central Library. It was overdue — by 69 years.
His explanation for the lateness? World War II.
The man checked out the book on March 7, 1944, while Estonia was occupied by Nazi Germany.
He blamed an aerial bombing that damaged the library for the late return of the novel by Eduard Vilde. No other details were given as to why it took so long to return the book.
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He returned the book, still containing the serial number that allowed librarians to identify it, with an apology and an offer to pay a late free.
The library waived all late charges.
Moral of the story: If you ever need to get out of late charges, blame the Nazis.
In February, a book was returned to the New York Public Library 55 years overdue. The lender included a $100 cheque to cover any fines. The library said that, at most, the fine would have been the book's replacement.