Biography: Daniel Loewenthal was born on September 29, abt., 1916, in New York. He was the son of Leo and Francis Loewenthal, attending local schools in the Bronx. He went on to attend Rutgers University, graduating in 1938 with a BS degree in Soils and Chemistry. Along with his normal studies, Dan took part in the school's ROTC program. After college, he worked as a soil surveyor with the US Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service.
Dan married Ruth in about 1939. She was also born in New York.
Service Time: Dan entered the Army on January 19, 1942, and was initially sent to Infantry School, at Fort Benning, Georgia. While there, he received special training through a Rifle & Heavy Weapons course. He remained there until April 27, 1942, when he was assigned to the 607th Tank Destroyer Battalion and served as a Platoon Leader. He would only serve with them for about a month, when he was transferred to the 804th, serving as the unit's Adjutant and Special Service Officer. He was also a Platoon Leader for Company C.
On February 25, 1944, Dan was transferred to the 894th, where he served in numerous positions including Liaison Officer, Post Exchange Officer, Platoon Leader in Company A, and Adjutant. On May 30 and 31, 1944, 1st Lt. Loewenthal was in command of a platoon of tank destroyers supporting an infantry attack near Lanuvio, Italy. Heavy artillery fire, mortars, machine guns and small arms fire stopped their advance. He continued to encourage and assist his crews while directing fire on the enemy. The next day, they were able to knock out four machine gun positions and repulse two counterattacks. A third attack threatened to overrun infantry positions but even though he had been severely burned,from a direct hit on his TD, Dan moved his platoon into position and placed such heavy and effective fire on the enemy that the Germans were forced to withdraw. For this action, Dan was awarded the Silver Star, for Gallantry in Action.
Dan also received a Purple Heart for his injuries and credit for the unit's campaigns of Tunisia, Rome Arno, Northern Apennines and the Po Valley. Additionally he received the EAME Medal, the American Theater Medal, the WWII Victory medal and the Croix de Guerre avec Etoile De Vermeil. He was promoted to Captain on February 7, 1945, and returned to the U.S. on October 3, 1945. He left active service but continued to serve in the Army Reserves, earning promotions to Major in 1954, and Lt. Colonel in 1960.
After he returned to the U.S., the family made their home in Chevy Chase, MD, and later moved to Bethesda. Dan returned to his job with the Department of Agriculture, but later became involved in the family paint business, real estate development and his own construction company. His construction business took on a number of more difficult, high-risk projects, including moving houses, adding basements under existing homes and structures, as well as installing flag poles and waterproofing foundations and basements.
Dan was very committed to his family, which included his wife Ruth, their two children, a son Ron and daughter Leslie, his granddaughter Terri, her husband Jason and their son, Felix and Dan's dogs. In his spare time, Dan enjoyed photography, rifle shooting, map making, music, swimming, dance, theatrical entertainments, and television. Dan was a member of builder organizations in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Daniel also stayed in touched with some members of the 894th. He attended one of the unit's reunions, which was held between 1980 and 1982, in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Dan passed away in 1989 and was buried with his wife in Woodbridge, New Jersey, although he had an invitation to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The cigarette case photo shown on left was sent to me by Negrello Thierry. Negrello lives in France and thought I may have some information on "Daniel Loewenthal", of the 804th. That was the information he was given about the case, when he purchased it. At the time, I had not heard from the Loewenthal family. You can see that Dan's initials are etched into the case.
On May 30, 2016, Memorial Day, Dan's daughter Leslie took her father's place in a ceremony to give him and three other veterans the Order of the Saint George Award. The award is given to personnel that served in an Armor or Calvary unit and are considered the very best examples of those groups. In the photo below, standing left to right are Rebecca Heinl, ESGR Florida, Dan's daughter Leslie Loewenthal, Major Jon Bender, Cavalry and Armor officer and recipient of the Order of the St George award who conducted the ceremony, Peter Caspari, ESGR Employer Outreach Director Florida and Shelley Costin, Miami Gardens Florist. The ESGR is a Department of Defense agency, established to support & value the employment & military service of members of the National Guard and Reserves. Leslie is proudly wearing the Bronze Medal and holding a large photo of her father.
The organizer of the event, Ron Lowther, is not shown in the photo but was instrumental in making it all happen. He is a freelance filmmaker who focuses on WWII tank battalion documentaries. You can find out more about the award and Ron's film work at his website.
I want to thank Dan's daughter Leslie, for providing the materials for this tribute.