On Memorial Day Weekend, son of US Army soldier hands ashes hidden for seven decades over to Jewish community for burial

Human remains from Dachau will receive a Jewish burial in Durham, North Carolina this Memorial Day Weekend, sixty-nine years after the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp.

Hundreds of people, including some from out of state, are expected to attend the ceremony Sunday morning at the historical Durham Hebrew Cemetery. Durham mayor Bill Bell will be among the dignitaries and members of the public on hand to witness the internment of a cake of ashes given to an American soldier by a Dachau survivor in 1945. The ceremony will include Memorial Day commemorations, as well as Jewish funeral rites.

The cremated remains were given to David Walter Corsbie, Jr., then a US Army soldier, within weeks of the camp’s liberation.

When Corsbie was discharged, he returned home to his wife Martha and their children — and took the ashes with him. He kept them in a metal cigarette case and did not speak about or show them to anyone for decades.

Eventually, he passed them to his son, Joseph Corsbie, who placed them in a small yellow plastic container and tucked them away in a dresser drawer in his trailer home in Dobson, NC.

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