Rose's Legacy

After his tragic death, an investigation into his death as a war crime and ambiguities about Rose’s religion caused controversy. Ultimately, Rose was buried in Margraten, Netherlands and honored as an American hero. The General Maurice Rose Memorial Hospital in Denver (now the Rose Medical Center) was constructed through a massively successful fundraising drive that showcased national respect and admiration for General Rose. Though he is a largely forgotten hero today, the General Rose Monument seeks to honor Rose’s military contributions and legacy.

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Almost immediately after the tragic event, an investigation was launched into the possibility of Rose’s death being prosecuted as a war crime. Despite discrepancies and inconsistent eyewitness accounts, Special Prosecutor Colonel Jaworski concluded that no war crime was committed: Rose’s death was pronounced “a combination of unfortunate circumstances.” After a temporary burial, General Rose came to his final resting place in 1949 in the Margraten American Military Cemetery in the Netherlands.49

 

In Colorado, General Maurice Rose was mourned as one of the great heroes of the war.50 No one felt his death more keenly than his family in Denver. Upon hearing of Maurice’s death in action, his father exclaimed “I expected it! I knew it! When I read how he was personally leading his men in such danger, I knew he would never come back to us.”51 Despite his grief, Rabbi Rose delivered a moving address to the nation over KOA radio on May 8, 1945. With this speech, General Rose became a martyr for the cause of democracy. His life story, heroic accomplishments and the tragic circumstances of his death appeared in newspapers across the country, including in Damon Runyon’s column, “The Brighter Side,” read by millions of Americans from coast to coast.52

 

If it was ever in question that General Rose was highly respected by his men, his peers, and his superiors, the outpouring of support and sympathy following his death removed any doubt. In a letter to his widow, Virginia, General Eisenhower expressed his deep respect and admiration for General Rose. General Rose “was not only one of our bravest and best but was a leader who inspired his men to speedy accomplishment of tasks that to a lesser man would have appeared almost impossible.”53

 

At the time of Rose’s death, Denver’s Jewish community was planning the construction of a new hospital, and with Rose’s name all over the papers, they saw an opportunity to both honor a Jewish war hero and promote their fundraising campaign. Thus, the General Maurice Rose Memorial Hospital was born. The campaign was a huge success, with donations flowing in from across the country. 10,000 soldiers who served under Rose in the 3rd Armored Division donated $30,000 to honor their fallen commander.54 However, the wildly successful fundraising stint was soon marred by controversy over Rose’s religious identity. Initially buried under a cross in accordance with military records that listed Rose as a Christian, the marking on the grave was replaced with a star of David in mid-1945. Rabbi Lefkowitz, who had served with the US Army in Europe, took issue with the change, as he believed Rose’s military records and thought he ought to be buried under a cross. s He was particularly upset by the emphasis on Rose’s Jewish upbringing for the sake of hospital fundraising, believing that fundraisers were capitalizing on the horrors of the Holocaust. A war of words in the papers threatened to halt the hospital’s progress altogether, but by Mid-November 1945 the crisis had passed and plans went ahead.55 Rose remains buried under a Christian cross to this day. Despite the controversy over Rose’s religion, he continues to be regarded as an important figure in Jewish-American history.

 

In August 1946, the hospital held its groundbreaking ceremony with emphasis on Rose as a secular hero. In a testament to his respect for General Rose, General Eisenhower was present at the ceremony, and laid the cornerstone of the hospital.56  Known as the Rose Medical Center today, the hospital continues to serve the Denver community.

Groundbreaking for the hospital
Groundbreaking for the hospital

Maurice Rose's mother, Katy Rose, breaks ground for the General Rose Memorial Hospital in YEAR. (B366.02.0004.0005_Hospital Groundbreaking)

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Eisenhower lays the cornerstone
Eisenhower lays the cornerstone

In a testament to his respect for Gerneal Rose, Dwight D Eisenhower lays the cornerstone for General Rose Memorial Hospital in YEAR. (B366.02.0004_edited)

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Dedication of the Gen Rose plane
Dedication of the Gen Rose plane

Maurice Rose's parents, Sam and Katy Rose, stand in front of the Maj Gen Maurice Rose during its dedication, circa 1949. (B366.02.0004.0008_Katy Rose and Two Men at Base of Rose Airplane)

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In addition to the hospital, Rose received several other honors in his name. The Ruhr Pocket was renamed the Rose Pocket in honor of General Rose, who became the only US General to have a battle named after him in WWII.57 In 1947, the US Army Troop Transport (USAT) Maurice Rose was dedicated in his honor. Around the same time, a plane, the Gen. Maurice Rose, was christened for use by the Army.58 In Margraten, Netherlands, Rose is a local hero: the elementary school a few miles from Rose’s final resting place bears his name. In Frankfurt, Germany, a former US Army airfield, now a local park, also bears his name.59

COMIC?

Despite the recognition and awards amassed during his lifetime and after his untimely death, Rose is a largely forgotten hero today. He was an expert in tank warfare– the most decorated battle tank commander in World War II– and an inspiring commander–leading his men on the longest one-day march into enemy territory of the war. By all accounts, Colorado’s own Major General Maurice Rose was integral to the success of World War II. Immortalized by the General Rose monument, visitors will be reminded of this courageous leader who led from the front, served his country with dignity, and even in death mobilized communities around the country in service to a greater good. 

49. Stephen L Ossad and Don R Marsh. Major General Maurice Rose: World War II’s Greatest Forgotten General (Taylor Trade Publishing, 2006), 339.

50. Robert Gamzey. “Rose Became Great General By Taking Personal Risks.” Intermountain Jewish News, April 12, 1945. 

51. Robert Gamzey. “Rose Became Great General By Taking Personal Risks.” Intermountain Jewish News, April 12, 1945. 

52. “Damon Runyon Lauds Rose Memorial in Hearst Column.” Intermountain Jewish News, May 24, 1945. 

53. “Eisenhower in Dedication.” New York Times, September 1, 1948.

54. Marshall Fogel. Major General Maurice Rose: The Most Decorated Battle Tank Commander in U.S. Military History, (2018), 345.

55. “Blumberg Names Administrator of Gen. Rose Hospital.” Intermountain Jewish News, December 6, 1945. 

56. “Eisenhower in Dedication.” New York Times, September 1, 1948.

57. Richard Arthur Briggs. “The Battle of the Ruhr Pocket: A Combat Narrative,” in World War Regimental Histories, (Louisville, Tioga Book Press, 1957), 54-57.

58. “Vessel To Be Renamed.” New York Times, February 16, 1949.

59. Public Space. “Umnutzung Alter Flugplatz Maurice Rose Airfield,” accessed August 25, 2022. https://www.publicspace.org/works/-/project/d079-umnutzung-alter-flugplatz-maurice-rose-airfield.