Introductory Remarks by Steven Ossad, Moderator
Elissa, thank you for the introduction and your opening remarks.
Family, Friends, Veterans, Ladies and Gentlemen. On behalf
of the distinguished members of our panel, my co-author Don R.
Marsh, and myself, I too want to welcome all of you to our program
this afternoon. I urge all of you to visit the Museum's Exhibition,
Ours to Fight For, and also to take note of the
helmet Maurice Rose wore when he was killed. The actual location
and orientation of the bullet holes in the helmet might surprise
you and figured in our analysis of what happened on the night
of March 30, 1945.
Major General Maurice Rose is included in the museum's exhibition
honoring the contribution of American Jewish soldiers during
World War II, although as Elissa suggested, there is considerable
controversy over whether Maurice Rose should be considered a
Jewish hero at all. But that too is a part of the story the exhibit
documents. Each of the 550,000 Jewish-American veterans who served
during World War II - and especially the 11,000 who fell - has
a unique story, and everyone has a context, and a personal history
and must be seen within the circumstances of that life. Still,
however, when we view Rose, he is a fascinating focus for the
consideration of a number of questions directly related to the
exhibit, and broader issues, as well. I hope you will enjoy our
conversation and will want to learn more.
Our format today will be an informal panel discussion followed
by a question and answer period and will last about an hour.
Afterwards, I will be available for a book signing in the lobby.
Before we begin I'd like to take a few moments for some personal
comments. Among the combat veterans of World War II in our audience
today are two members of my family. I want to recognize my uncles,
Lester Ratner, who served in a combat engineer regiment in Italy,
Southern France, and Germany, and Jack Gleimer, who served in
a tank battalion in the Armored Force in North Africa and Italy.
I also want to remember my father and father-in-law, Of Blessed
Memory. Alex Ossad served in the Medical Administrative Corps
of the U.S. Army Air Force and Murray Kramer served in an amphibious
boat repair unit in the U.S. Navy. I know they would be proud
to see that I have found a way to remember and honor their service.
I also want to introduce Dr. Jeff Rose, General Rose's grandnephew,
who was deeply involved and committed to the biography from the
beginning and whose family photo album was a source of many of
the pictures in the book.
Introduction of the Panel Members:
Now it is my great pleasure to introduce the distinguished
members of our panel.
Martin Blumenson - After receiving graduate degrees in
history from Bucknell and Harvard, Martin Blumenson joined the
U.S. Army, and while at OCS at Camp Barkeley - where my father
also became an officer - Martin volunteered as a historian. It
was one of the very few times when volunteering turned out to
be a good idea. He soon became part of a group organized by S.L.A.
Marshall to chronicle the ground war and was assigned as a Combat
Historian, first attached to the headquarters of George Patton's
Third Army and later to Alexander Patch's Seventh Army. He continued
to serve in the Office of Military History after the war, including
a tour of duty in Korea and retired from the Army as a Lt. Colonel.
[ADDENDUM by Ossad: S.L.A. Marshall (or Samuel Lyman Atwood Marshall)
was a prominent journalist and one of the founders of U.S. military
history; he was tapped by President Roosevelt to organize the
teams of historians that were attached to Corps and Armies and
essentially compiled the U.S. Army WWII Green Books;
Marshall also wrote Pork Chop Hill and a slew of other
Martin is one of the last of the historians who wrote the Official
History of the U.S. Army in World War II - the so-called "Green
Books" - and is the author of two volumes in the series:
Breakout and Pursuit, the definitive account of
the Normandy Campaign, and Salerno to Cassino,
the key study of the first part of the Italian Campaign. He is
also the author of many articles and books, including critically
acclaimed biographies of Generals Mark Clark and George S. Patton,
and was the editor of Patton's Papers. He has held chairs and
professorships at many prestigious institutions and has received
numerous awards and honors including the Bronze Star Medal and
the Army Commendation Ribbon. I am proud to call him teacher,
mentor, advisor, and most of all, friend.
Joseph W. Bendersky received a BA from the City College
of NY in 1969 and earned his Masters and Ph.D. at Michigan State
University. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Bonn
in 1972-3. He is currently Professor of German History and Chairman
of the Department of History at Virginia Commonwealth University
in Richmond and has won a number of awards for excellence in
scholarship and teaching. In addition to many articles, he is
the author of Carl Schmitt: Theorist for the Reich
and A History of Nazi Germany. His latest book,
The Jewish Threat: Anti-Semitism in the U.S. Army,
was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award of 2000 and
is a landmark study drawing on extensive and hitherto unknown
archival material. He is currently extending the scope of his
analysis through the establishment of the State of Israel and
the gradual decline of anti-Semitism in the Army over the last
Gerald Astor served in the 97th Infantry Division during
World War II, followed by a tour of occupation duty in Japan.
He spent much of his career as a journalist, working as a senior
editor at Look, a member of the founding staff
of Sports Illustrated and as National Affairs editor
of The Saturday Evening Post. He is the author
of more than 30 books, spanning a broad range of subjects, and
covering events and personalities of all theaters or operations.
These works have given him a unique knowledge and perspective
on many aspects of the U.S. Army's role in World War II. His
most recent work, a biography of "Terrible" Terry Allen,
famed commander of the 1st and 104th Infantry Divisions, is a
model study of leadership. It happens that Maurice Rose and Terry
Allen were friends for more than twenty-five years and served
together in "Lightning Joe" Collins' VII Corps. Mr.
Astor was one of the first post-war historians to make extensive
use of veterans' interviews to capture the immediacy and terror
of warfare, as well as its moments of humor and high drama. The
late Stephen Ambrose observed that "no one does oral history
better than Gerald Astor." It is a technique that I have
tried hard to emulate in my own work.
Finally, I want to introduce my friend and co-author who could
not be here today, but who would have certainly made our discussion
even livelier. Don R. Marsh, a feisty Irishman from Racine,
Wisconsin, volunteered in 1942 for the U.S. Army and was trained
as a signalman. Just before D-Day, he was transferred to Combat
Command A of the 2nd Armored Division, then under the command
of Brigadier General Maurice Rose. Don landed on Omaha Beach
on D+3 and fought through all five major European land campaigns.
Following a distinguished career in Air Force personnel and recruitment
both here and abroad, Don retired from active service in 1964.
He then had a successful business career, retiring again in 1979.
Since we met in 1995, he has provided valuable first-hand perspective
to this biography. He asked me to remember two of his best friends,
both Jewish veterans and New Yorkers: Bob Rosenberg, of the 3rd
Armored, killed in action at the Battle of Mons, September 3,
1944, and David Zemsky, 2nd Armored, who passed away several