(JTA) — A Jewish-American soldier from World War II who was listed as missing for more than 70 years was buried in California.
Staff Sgt. David Rosenkrantz was buried Friday at the Riverside National Cemetery, where four of his brothers also are buried, in a funeral 74 years after his death.
His remains were recovered and identified in March, near the farm where he was killed, the Los Angeles Times reported.
More than 30 of his relatives, including nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews, and their children, attended the funeral, according to the Times.
Rosenkrantz became a hometown hero three months after being shipped out to Europe in 1943, when he and another paratrooper were mistakenly dropped into an Italian unit and all 200 of them surrendered to the two American soldiers.
Rosenkrantz was killed at the age of 28 during Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands, in a battle chronicled in the 1977 film “A Bridge Too Far.”
Rosenkrantz’s dog tags, which were stamped with a “J” for Jewish, had been returned to the family in March 2012, according to a website in his memory maintained by his nephew Dr. Phillip Rosenkrantz. According to the website, the dog tags were found not long after the war by a farmer and turned over to the U.S. Army. They were then misplaced and found by the army in 2011 and later released to the family
Phillip Rosenkrantz eulogized his uncle and received the folded American flag that had draped his coffin during the funeral.
“This is a day I have been hoping for over 20 years,” he said in his eulogy, according to the Times. “We now have some closure.”
The soldier’s remains had been recovered from the farm where he was killed by German soldiers and buried in an American military grave in the southern part of the Netherlands. This was discovered by a Dutchman named Ben Overhand, who as a teenager began trying to find the remains of soldiers who helped liberate the Netherlands and saw the website dedicated to Rosenkrantz. His research led to finding the soldier’s body.
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, the federal agency responsible for recovering the remains of missing soldiers, exhumed the remains last year.