[February 11, 2024] Occasionally, you hear about our World War II heroes. Still, you never hear of them coming home from the battlefield and integrating themselves back into their hometowns, opening a business, marrying and having children, and being a pillar of their community. Today, we have the daughter of one such hero, Susan Friedenberg, and I want to thank her for sharing one incredible story about her Dad. He was a true WWII Dad Hero.
My Father, Staff Sergeant Bernie Friedenberg, was a Medic on Omaha Beach and fought and saved lives for 4.6 years in every campaign in Europe; he came home from the war emotionally damaged. No one knew about PTSD then. He hid the horrors of war and never talked about it, like most soldiers who come home from war. He chilled out for a few months and wanted to open a bar in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he was from.
His beloved Dad, Jake Friedenberg, had a great deal of money, and Dad told him that he wanted to open a bar in Atlantic City. My Grandfather said that he would “give” Dad the money. My father was a proud man and wanted to do this with no help from his father.
He went to First National Bank in Atlantic City and asked for a loan to open a bar, and they refused him because he had NO collateral. He still would not let his Dad help him. My father was a proud man.
He gathered all his medals – including 2 Purple Hearts, 2 Bronze Medals, and 2 Silver Stars – and went to the Mayor of AC’s office, Mayor Joseph Altman. He walked in with his military paperwork and the medals, and the secretary said, “Sir, do you have an appointment to see the Mayor.” Dad said “No” and walked right by her and into the Mayor’s office.
The Mayor looked up and said, “Who are you?” Dad responded with:
“I am Staff Sergeant Bernie Friedenberg, and I was raised in Atlantic City and left for 4.6 years of war from here, and here are my medals, [placing them on the Mayor’s desk] and I need a loan Mr. Mayor and First National Bank will NOT give me one because I have no collateral…. I need you to CO-SIGN a loan for me, Sir”.
The Mayor stood up, shook Dad’s hand, thanked him for his service and said, “Let’s go, Sergeant Friedenberg.” And off they went. The rest is AC history. Dad opened the Dusty Roads Bar. It was around the corner from the famed Five Hundred Club.
Susan C. Friedenberg – A PROUD Veteran’s Daughter
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