A few hours after a U.S. Army base in Iraq came under Iranian-backed Shi’ite rocket attacks the other day, Dave Rosner and a few friends showed up. Rosner, a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves, wasn’t there to fight. He went to tell jokes.
Rosner, a wiry, wisecracking native of New Mexico who now lives on the Upper East Side, was part of a stand-up show that entertains troops in war zones. This one was especially tense after the rocket attack, one in which an injured soldier had to be airlifted away for medical care.
A U.S. Army reconnaissance unit parachutes into Vilna in 1943.
Surrounded by the Nazi and Russian armies, under heavy shelling, the American soldiers rendezvous with a Lithuanian partisan, a bearded hulk of a man named Bear. Stepping out of the rubble, Bear declares "We got package for you, very valuable, very ... breakable."
Stuart Wolfer, who grew up in Dix Hills, L.I., surprised his parents on a visit back home during his freshman year in college when he announced he was going to join the ROTC military training program and eventually serve in the U.S. Army.
“We’re not army people. This is not your personality,” his father, Len, told him.
“I only go around once. I want to try everything,” Stuart Wolfer answered.
Military service is in the Perl family’s blood.
Pvt. Otto Perl spent nearly a year in the Austrian army from 1937 to 1938. His father had been an officer in that same army in World War I, and two of his uncles had served in WWI.
Perl, a tailor, was 22 in early 1938 when he was discharged a few months before his homeland was annexed by Nazi Germany. A Jew, he was arrested and sent to the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps for a year. He survived the forced labor and beatings and frigid weather.
Rabbi Abraham Klausner, an American rabbi who as a chaplain in the U.S. Army served as an advocate for the needs of Jewish Holocaust survivors, died June 28 in his Sante Fe, N.M., home of complications of Parkinson’s Disease. He was 92.
For 25 years he had served as spiritual leader of Temple Emanu-El in Yonkers, N.Y., retiring in 1989.
The first American Jewish chaplain to arrive at Dachau after its liberation in 1945, he coordinated efforts on behalf of survivors in the American zone of Germany who remained in displaced-persons camps for years after the war.