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Veteran honored years after being held POW during WWII

Posted at 5:29 PM, Dec 23, 2014
and last updated 2015-12-18 17:29:22-05

Norman Blatner was held as a prisoner of war in Germany during WWII. But it was a connection to Buffalo that has been credited with saving his life.

The German prison guard asked Norman if he was related to the Blatner family that owned Blatner's Deli on Greenfield Street in Buffalo.

It turns out that Private Blatner was related to the family; the store was owned by his aunt and uncle. The guard's family and Blatner's family members were friends and the German guard's relatives had recently visited Buffalo.

The two men never spoke again, but shortly after the encounter, Blatner was transferred to a prison farm, where survival was easier. He later escaped in June of 1945.

Tuesday, Congressman Brian Higgins presented Blatner's medals, including the Bronze Star, to his family on the verteran's behalf inside of North Tonawanda City Hall.

Norman Blatner died on July 4th, 2013. He and his wife Teresa were married for more than 70 years.