Otto Warmbier laid to rest

Thousands attend funeral of college student held captive and brutalized by North Korea.

Gary Willig,

Otto Warmbier confessing to stealing a political poster in North Korea
Otto Warmbier confessing to stealing a political poster in North Korea
Screenshot from YouTube

Otto Warmbier, the American student who passed away this week after being held prisoner in North Korea for 17 months, was laid to rest in his hometown of Wyoming, Ohio Thursday morning.

Warmbier suffered severe brain damage while in North Korean captivity. He was returned home to his parents while in a coma last week.

More than 2,000 mourners attended the funeral for Otto Warmbler held at Wyoming High School, from which Warmbier graduated four years ago.

Warmbier was eulogized by his younger brother, Austin.

“It doesn’t matter where he was or what he was doing, he was always there for you whenever you needed him,” Austin told the crowd of mourners. “Otto was the most popular, well-liked person I’ve ever met. He could make a friend out of anyone, it doesn’t matter who it was.”

He added that it was “hard following in Otto’s footsteps” because “he had a perfect GPA and was the captain of the soccer team.”

Rabbi Jake Rubin, who took Warmbier on a trip to Israel through the Birthright program, said that Otto was “one of the most intellectually curious people I’ve ever met.”

Warmbier, whose mother is Jewish, became active in his college's Jewish community following his experience with Birthright.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), told reporters outside the funeral service: "Today is a solemn day, but it is also a day the Warmbier family would like to celebrate the life of a bright young man.”

“Today we are seeing good and evil all at once — the good, of course, is the support and the love this family is receiving, the support from this community,” said Portman, who added that the evil was that “this college kid never should have been detained in the first place.”