Photos & Intro by Web Staff Rose Index      NEXT

New York City - November 23, 2003

"Major General Maurice Rose: An Untold Story"
A Panel Discssion

  As part of the Museum's ongoing series of historical and cultural programs, four nationally prominent military historians came together on stage on a Sunday afternoon to discuss the career of Gen. Rose, the highest ranking American Jewish officer ever killed in battle. His death would lead to a war crimes investigation of questionable thoroughness which ultimately did not lead to charges being filed. (continued below)

  ABOVE PHOTOS: Top left: panelist Martin Blumenson; Top right: panelist Joseph Bendersky; Middle photo: (left to right) Gerald Astor, Joseph Bendersky, Martin Blumenson, and Steven Ossad; Bottom photo: the program audience, including 3AD History Website curator Jim MacClay, nearest camera at front row right. (Web Staff photos)

  (continued from top of page) Steven Ossad, Rose biographer, moderated the panel discussion, which covered a wide range of topics to include Rose's controversial burial under the Christian cross; varied opinions on the anti-Semitism, or sometimes lack thereof, in the Army officer corps in WWI & WWII; and the current multi-ethnic make up of today's officer corps. An attentive audience of over 250 people attended the program at the Museum's spacious new facility in Battery Park, Manhattan, overlooking New York Harbor. 

  See below for Ossad's remarks in which he introduces his co-panelists: Gerald Astor, author of The Greatest War; Joseph Bendersky, author of The Jewish Threat: Anti-Semitic Politics of the U.S. Army; and Martin Blumenson, author of Patton:The Man Behind the Legend.


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.

Personal comments:

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 books.]

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 five decades.

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 years ago.

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