The son of the late Rabbi Samuel Rose, who in turn was the son of a rabbi, Maurice Rose was born in Middletown, Conn., on Nov. 26, 1899, and moved with his parents and brother, Arnold, to Denver at the age of three. He grew up with the ambition to be a soldier, and at 15, with World War I clouds gathering, Maurice enlisted in the Colorado National Guard. Learning that he had stretched his age, the military authorities released him. Maurice then took a job in the plant where his brother worked.
With the entrance of America into war, Maurice again enlisted. He was sent to Officers Training School at Camp Funston, Kansas, where he was commissioned a second lieutenant at age 17. He was sent overseas with the 89th Division and was in the thick of fighting for 13 months, was wounded, and reported killed in an official telegram which sent his parents into mourning. After they had finished sitting "shiva," they received a correction from the War Department.
On his return home after the war, he wasted no time, re-enlisting in the army and he made the military his career. Maurice Rose spent the years between the wars studying and devising new methods of mechanized warfare. Rising rapidly in the company of future military leaders like Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, Hodges, and Simpson, he found himself at the outbreak of World War II at Ft. Benning, Ga., Brigade Executive Officer of the newly organized first armored.
He led the Second Armored Division in the invasion of North Africa, and had the personal satisfaction of handing unconditional surrender terms, at Bizerte, to Nazi General Boroweitz. Gaining stature with every victory, he led his armored forces through the Sicilian campaign and into the invasion of Normandy. He was promoted to major general and given command of the Third Armored, during the drive through France for his brilliant feats in Normandy.
The Third Armored, with Gen. Rose personally leading the way, became the spearhead of the First Army, and was first to cross the German border, first to take a German town, and first to pierce the Siegfried Line.
Driving in a jeep in the vanguard of his Spearhead Division, General Rose was trapped by Nazi tankmen near Paderborn on March 31, and shot to death as he surrendered his sidearms. This cold-blooded murder, violation of the rules of war, enraged the nation and our allies. Yet, while headlines screamed of this inhuman slaying, Rabbi Rose, almost 99, calmly told a Rocky Mountain News reporter: "It is well that since this had to be, it happened in the week of Passover. May Jehovah accept this sacrifice and see the blood and pass over all peoples for their sins, at this Passover time, for my son's sake."
The highest military awards had been conferred on General Rose. General George C. Marshall said, "I salute Gen. Maurice Rose as a great American soldier." Secretary of War Stimson called Gen. Rose "without a peer in commanding an armored division." Walter Winchell reported that when General Patton heard of the shooting of General Rose he was strangely silent for a long time . . . then he reached into his pocket, took out a German-English dictionary - and crossed out the word "mercy".