Tags: warmbier | family | jewish | north korea

Report: Warmbier's Family Hid Fact He Was Jewish From NKorea

Image: Report: Warmbier's Family Hid Fact He Was Jewish From NKorea
(AP)

By    |   Thursday, 22 Jun 2017 01:47 PM

The family of Otto Warmbier, the college student who died after being held prisoner for 17 months in North Korea, hid the fact that he was Jewish while negotiators fought for his release, The Times of Israel reported.

Warmbier had been imprisoned by the North Koreans, who claimed he had stolen a propaganda poster in a Pyongyang hotel lobby. They further claimed the theft came on orders from the Friendship United Methodist Church in Wyoming, Ohio who wanted it "as a trophy" in exchange for a used car worth $10,000, the newspaper reported.

"We didn't want to share it," said Mickey Bergman, who worked on negotiations for Warmbier's release, referring to the fact Warmbier was Jewish.

Bergman is the executive director of The Richardson Center, a group working to negotiate the release of prisoners and hostages held by hostile regimes, the Times said.

"The family chose, rightfully so, not to share that information while he was in captivity… because they didn't want to embarrass (North Korea) by explaining that he actually was Jewish" and would not have been affiliated with the church," he said.

"That's why that part of the story was kept quiet."

Warmbier was finally released last week — in a coma and suffering severe brain damage, the newspaper noted. He died on Monday.

Warmbier's mother is Jewish and he identified with the religion throughout his life, the newspaper quoted a source familiar with the matter.

The Washington Post reported his death sparked outrage in the U.S and prompted President Donald Trump to call Warmbier's passing "a disgrace."

"It's a disgrace what happened to Otto," Trump said. "And frankly, if he were brought home sooner, I think the results would have been a lot different."

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The family of Otto Warmbier, the college student who died after being held prisoner for 17 months in North Korea, hid the fact that he was Jewish while negotiators fought for his release, The Times of Israel reported.
warmbier, family, jewish, north korea
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2017-47-22
Thursday, 22 Jun 2017 01:47 PM
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