World War II and its effect on my father, Irwin Rosen, is one of the main themes of A Brooklyn Memoir. He was an infantyman in General Patton's 94th Division. He marched through France, Czechoslovakia, and Germany. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and took part in the liberation of a Nazi slave-labor camp. Despite my persistent questions, he never talked about what he experienced in any detail. Everything I learned about what happened to him in the war I learned from somebody else, usually my mother.
As a child, I loved looking at my father's war souvenirs, which I describe in the book. Recently, I came across a war souvenir I'd never seen before: his "Special Orders for German-American Relations" (first page depicted above), signed by Lieutenant General Omar Bradley, in 1945.
His orders were exactly as follows:
1. To remember always that Germany, though conquered, is still a dangerous enemy nation.
2. Never to trust Germans, collectively or individually.
3. To defeat German efforts to poison my thoughts or influence my attitude.
4. To avoid acts of violence, except when required by military necessity.
5. To conduct myself at all times so as to command the respect of the German people for myself, for the United States, and for the Allied Cause.
6. Never to associate with Germans.
7. To be fair but firm with Germans.
This happened a long time ago. My father would have been 99 September 24. This is another fragment of his life.