The remains of a British man from Jersey who died following his imprisonment at a Nazi concentration camp were buried Wednesday near his home, over 70 years after he died.
Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, was occupied by Nazi forces from 1940 until the end of World War II.
Frank Le Villio was 19 when he was deported to France to serve a three-month prison sentence for taking a German officer’s bicycle on a joyride.
Le Villio was sent to three different concentration camps during the war, including Bergen-Belsen in Germany, where some 200,000 people were taken. More than 52,000 camp inmates and 20,000 prisoners of war died there, among them the famous teenage diarist Anne Frank.
The camp was liberated on April 15, 1945 by British soldiers who found some 10,000 dead bodies when they entered the Nazi camp.
Though Le Villio survived, he died from tuberculosis in 1946 at 21 after returning to the United Kingdom and was buried in a “pauper’s grave” at a cemetery in Nottingham, according to the BBC.
Dozens gathered at St Saviour Parish Church for the service celebrating the incredible story of Frank Le Villio returning to Jersey after more than 70 years. We’ll have a special feature about Frank’s life on @itvchanneltv and @ITVCentral at 6 pic.twitter.com/C82fu7j1BQ
— Susan Ripoll (@SusanRipoll) September 5, 2018
His remains were located in 2017 after being tracked down by Jersey resident Stanley Keiller, who was a boy at the time of the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands and took an interest in finding where Le Villio was buried.
“He was a young teenager who was taken away from us in those occupation years, and there’s a satisfaction in having found him,” the BBC quoted Keiller saying at the service Wednesday in St. Helier, near where Le Villio had lived.
Stan Hockley, A cousin of Le Villio’s who grew up with him, said the reburial was a “long, long journey.”
“The emphasis these days is on ‘forgive and forget.’ But those who say that — do they have relatives who were tortured and murdered, just for having an illicit ride on a bike?” Hockley said, according to The Daily Mail.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.