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World War II POW Finds Peace in Suwanee

Hank Freedman remembers a German stalag, as well as significant moments from a long career in Atlanta retail.

Hank Freedman has been to Asia and Europe -- some of it on business, but some of it inside a German prisoner of war camp in World War II.

Freedman remembers the Pink Pig in downtown Atlanta -- and breaking bread for Passover when liberated from the stalag where he and others were held.

And Freedman remembers a TV test pattern -- as well as enduring British bombing in a German boxcar on Christmas Eve, bombing that killed 60 other POWs in the same group.

-- Do you have memories, family or otherwise, of World War II? Share them in the comments below.

Freedman, now 91 and a Suwanee resident, recalls with lively detail a harrowing World War II experience, as well as a long and productive career with Rich's and Davison's, once landmarks on Atlanta's retail scene.

And yes, family details are prominent in his thoughts, as well as memories of his late wife, Betty.

He also is proud of his spirituality, which takes him regularly to Shadowbrook Baptist Church in Suwanee. He was born Jewish in Boston, and references to that faith are included in the WWII diary that he kept in captivity -- a diary that Freedman still has.

It all began when he was drafted into the service in 1942, and became a machine gunner in the infantry.

The Atlanta professional career began in 1946, through a connection made when the military sent Freedman to Auburn University. And what a connection it was -- Frank Garson, who became prominent in female apparel with the Lovable Co. and who eventually became grandfather to current Atlanta consumer advocate Clark Howard.

There are now two children, four granddaughters and two great-granddaughters.

But at one point in Germany in December 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge, Freedman could only think of survival.

Captured by German soldiers in the wintry wilderness, he remembers thinking, "The war is over for us. I was amazed we were still alive."

COMING SOON: Freedman recounts details of his captivity during World War II in Germany.

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