Biography of General Rose
Maurice Rose (1899-1945)
Although he pretended to be a Christian, Rose, the son and grandson of rabbis, was a Jew. A graduate of the West Point military academy, Rose was promoted to major general during the Second World War and commanded the Third Armored Division during its drive into France against the Germans in 1944. Rose led from the front as he rode in a jeep ahead of his troops when a German tank blocked his way and a German soldier atop the tank shot Rose in the head. Rose died shortly thereafter.
Rose believed that he could not be known as a Jew in our army lest he be the victim of discrimination and persecution. In that estimate he was right, as every one of the Jewish servicemen and women in our armed forces can testify. Of course, the vast majority of Jewish service personnel claim to be secular and not Jewish.
The remarkable difference between General Rose and other generals was that except for Rose, generals stayed in the rear and risked nothing. Eisenhower, who became president of the United States by claiming great heroism, never saw a shot fired in his lifetime, as he remained safe in England until our forces had won the war. Patton, despite his dramatics and big mouth, never risked entering a combat zone. Neither Clark nor Patch nor any of those who bragged about their achievements after the war ever saw the enemy. Rose alone led from the front, but is today buried under a cross in a Dutch cemetery at Margraten.
Rose was born in Middletown, Connecticut. He volunteered at age 17 to fight with General Pershing at the Mexican border but was discharged when his age was discovered. He later graduated from the military academy in 1916, and served as a second lieutenant in the First World War with the 89th Infantry Division at the battles of the Argonne and at St. Mihiel.
At the beginning of the Second World War he was a colonel assigned to the 1st Armored Division in North Africa, where he was awarded the silver star at the battle for Tunisia in 1943. In 1944, he was promoted to brigadier general and commanded the 2nd Armored Division just before the invasion of Sicily, where his unit captured the capital Palermo. He was then promoted to major general and given command of the 3rd Armored Division in France in 1944. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
More than six feet tall, Rose directed operations from his jeep as he traveled with the forward elements of his command with the tanks and foot soldiers.
On his grave is chiseled “Requiescat in Pace,” but he was a Jew just the same.