Jewish-American U.S. Army WWII soldier 1st Lt. Nathan B. Baskind to be buried at Normandy American Cemetery, France, with full military honors, June 23, 2024

On June 23, 2024, 80 years after his death during World War II, Jewish-American U.S. Army soldier 1st Lt. Nathan B. Baskind will be buried with full military honors at Normandy American Cemetery, France

In June 1944, Baskind was assigned to Company C, 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion, as a platoon commander of four M-10 tank destroyers. Baskind landed on Utah Beach on D-Day and lost his life in the Battle of Cherbourg 17 days later, on June 23, 1944.

1st Lt. Nathan B. Baskind, circa 1944. Courtesy of Operation Benjamin.

Historical background 

Baskind and another man from his company were scouting ahead of their tank destroyers when enemy forces descended upon them in an ambush. Several attempts were made to retrieve Baskind’s body from the ambush point, but they could not locate his remains. Following the end of the war, investigators from the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) discovered a death and burial report for Baskind among German records, revealing that Baskind had been captured and had later died at a hospital for German Air Force personnel near Cherbourg on June 23, 1944.

Mass grave in German War Cemetery, Marigny, France. Courtesy of Operation Benjamin.

In late 1957, the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge (VDK) discovered one of Baskind’s identification tags along with remnants of an American-type shirt with a first lieutenant rank and tank destroyer insignia. The remains being commingled in a mass grave, it was determined impossible to separate remains into individual sets. They were re-interred in the Marigny German War Cemetery, 40 miles south of Cherbourg. Subsequent attempts to identify the remains of Baskind by U.S. and German investigators were unsuccessful.  

As Normandy American Cemetery was being consolidated in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, the name of Baskind was engraved on the Wall of the Missing, offering a place of mourning and remembrance to his family members

Recent findings lead to long-awaited funerals 

In 2023, the VDK, Operation Benjamin, and the Lawrence P. Gordon Foundation exhumed the commingled remains from Marigny German War Cemetery for analysis. By February 2024, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) was contacted: Baskind’s remains had been analyzed by a private U.S. laboratory. DPAA was asked to verify these analyses so that Baskind could finally officially be accounted for

June 23, 2024, will not only mark the 80th anniversary of Baskind’s death, it will also be the day his family can finally lay his remains to eternal rest while he receives final military honors.  

Thanks to the collaboration of Operation Benjamin and the support of U.S. Army Europe and Africa units, this burial ceremony will represent a solemn moment to commemorate the sacrifice of Baskind and a reminder of all U.S. armed forces’ service overseas. It will also be the occasion for ABMC to reinstate its commitment to honoring the service, achievements, and sacrifice of the U.S. armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice during WWII. 


Please note that while Normandy American Cemetery will remain open to the public, the Baskind family has expressed the desire to host the ceremony privately.