Swiss glacier couple laid to rest 75 years on

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Marceline Udry-Dumoulin, centre left, and her husband, centre right, walk into the church for the funeral of parents Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin. PICTURE: AP

Zurich
A husband and wife whose bodies were found perfectly preserved in a Swiss glacier after going missing 75 years ago have been finally laid to rest.
Marcelin Dumoulin, 40, and his wife Francine, 37, left their village in Chandolin, Switzerland one morning to milk their cows in a meadow but never returned.
Their sudden disappearance coupled with the mystery of the couple never being found left cast a dark shadow of their daughter Monique Gautschy-Dumoulin, who was 11 when she waved goodbye to them on August 15, 1942.
But last week after seven decades of torment, Monique now 86 has discovered what happened to her beloved parents, when they were found in a receding glacier, the Daily Mail reported.
She alongside other surviving family members have been able to put them to rest in a touching ceremony held in the hillside village in Switzerland.
Dozens of family members and friends gathered at the Eglise de St Germain church to say goodbye to the couple.
In the procession before the funeral, two men carrying crosses and a young man holding a photograph of the pair walked in front of the hearse.
Then the two wooden coffins containing the preserved remains of the couple were then carried into the large Swiss church.
The mourners dressed in smart attire listened on as the priest gave a speech. Daughters Monique and Marceline Udry-Dumoulin were sitting towards the front of the church, dressed in white.
Marceline, 71, who was four when their parents disappeared said: “We spent our whole lives searching for them, without stopping. We never thought we’d be able to give them the funeral they deserved.
“I can say that after 75 years of waiting this news gives me a deep sense of calm.”
She added: “For the funeral, I won’t wear black. I think that white would be more appropriate. It represents hope, which I never lost.”
Earlier this week her elder sister Monique retold the heartbreaking story how she grew increasingly concerned when her parents did not arrive home.
“I went to a friend’s on the edge of the village to see if she had seen them returning. When she said she hadn’t, I started crying. I knew it was bad.
“A search was launched by the priest, a friend of my father. The whole village helped. But there was no sign, no clues.”
Monique said she and her siblings Maurice, Raphael, Candide, Eugene, Charles and Marceline remained in the family home ‘for two to three weeks’ after their parents disappeared.
“I was the oldest so I was doing everything. The cooking, the washing and remember, this was before washing machines. Everything by hand. I had to look after my sister and brothers. It was hard.
“Then the house was shut up. We weren’t allowed to take anything. We left with no souvenirs, nothing. The priest organised for us all to live with different families.
“There were a lot of people who came forward offering help because my father was such a popular man so everyone wanted one of Marcelin’s children.
“But once we were placed it was a very different story.
“It wasn’t always easy. Our family was separated left and right, it was a disaster to have no parents.
“We were not necessarily treated how we should have been. We were sent to work in gardens, fields, vineyards. We were never together.
“Even if we were in the same village, we lost sight of each other because we worked a lot of time.
“Sometimes there were festivals but you had to pay for those. So we each rested in our own corner of life and grew-up separately.
“Life changed terribly and hugely after they disappeared.”
For nearly eight decades their sudden disappearance remained a mystery.
And, then, last Thursday an extraordinary discovery was made.
Their perfectly preserved bodies were found next to each other in the Diablerets massif on the Tsanfleuron glacier in southern Switzerland, along with their identitiy cards, backpacks, a bottle, a book and a watch they had with them.
Officials say the couple, whose bodies were formally identified this week using DNA samples, had probably fallen into a crevasse.
Swiss police said: “The remains recovered on the glacier have been formally identified,’ police in Switzerland’s Valais canton said in a statement.
“They are of Mr Marcelin Dumoulin and his wife Francine Dumoulin, who disappeared tragically on August 15, 1942.”
Monique said police called to inform her of the definitive identification early on Wednesday last week.
Relatives have said that the discovery would finally give them a chance for closure and to organise the funeral that the Dumoulins never received.
Today a funeral has taken place. Monique said, adding that she “would love to see them before then, just to embrace them.” AP

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