Did you know two brothers who died in World War II were reunited 74 years later?

Left to right: Julius and Ludwig Pieper, who died together but were separated in death for 74 years
(Photo: Susan Lawrence)
The story of Julius and Ludwig Peiper, both of whom died during World War II, underlines the importance of identifying fallen soldiers, a topic explored in our recent article. (Read our earlier article) The twin brothers, both of whom served in the Navy as Radioman 2nd Class, died when their Landing Ship, Tank struck a mine off the shore of Normandy on June 19, 1944. Separated by circumstance, their remains were united in 2018, and now rest side by side in the Normandy American Cemetery.
Both brothers were among the 117 men who died out of the 145 crew onboard. Ludwig’s body was soon recovered, identified, and eventually buried at the Normandy American Cemetery. Julius’ body, like that of many others, was not found, and his name was inscribed on the Walls of the Missing.
The Walls of the Missing in the Normandy American Cemetery
(Photo: Author’s own)
The remains of a crewman from the ship were found in 1961 and, unable to be identified at the time, buried under an Unknown headstone in the Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium.
Things changed in 2015, when Nebraska high school student Vanessa Taylor began researching the case of the twin brothers, interviewing family members and requesting records from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. During the research process, the agency found evidence that the unknown man might be Julius. Laboratory analysis of the remains combined with circumstantial and material evidence led to the conclusion that the body did, in fact, belong to Julius Pieper. Ludwig’s remains were relocated to a different plot in Normandy, and his brother Julius finally buried next to him in 2018, 74 years after their death to the day.
The markers of the two brothers in the Normandy American Cemetery
(Photo: Author’s own)
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