NEW 2012 Edition
Once in a Lifetime
The World War II Memoir of a Jewish-American Soldier
by Robert A. Nusbaum
Merriam Press Military Monograph 54
Fourth Edition (March 2012)
202 6×9-inch pages
Paperback (ISBN 978-1475028898) — #MM54-P — $12.95
53 photos (36 of which were "liberated" by the author from a German home at the end of the war and depict the German Army during the invasion of France in May-June 1940, showing typical scenes of tanks, armored cars, trucks, cars, weapons, equipment, dead bodies, destruction, and more)
This is the true story of a small town boy who lived through the Depression of the 1930s and the war years of the 1940s. He was an idealist, as were many in his age group at that time, and he was fearful of the fascism that was pervading the world, and threatened to spread to the United States.
This motivated him to enlist in the Army in 1940, a year before the United States entered the war. He hoped to have the opportunity to play a role, small as it might be, in fighting this fascism in Germany or Japan, wherever he might be sent. And in his Army service he hoped to find some adventure to brighten his "dull" life along the way.
The narrative continues, as the author travels from one Army location to another during his training periods. He tells of his adventures and of the good times and the bad times he experienced. He is constantly frustrated at his seeming inability to play an active part in the war that was growing ever stronger so he transfers to the paratroops.
Here again he is disappointed; an emergency operation and hospital stay disqualifies him from that service and he is assigned to the infantry and thence overseas to Holland. The Battle of the Bulge is now raging and second lieutenants are very expendable there; but fate steps in again and he finds himself assigned to an infantry company that had taken such a drubbing by the Germans that they were moved out of the line of heavy combat and given a "safe" duty assignment.
Their job now was a two-fold one: collecting German prisoners of war and supervising a former German slave labor camp that was no longer operating for the Germans' use. The author weaves his tale against a backdrop of the earth-shaking events that were happening in the world, and the horrific holocaust and its tragic consequences. The story ends with the ending of the war, and the author's observations and his predictions of the post-World War II world, vis-à-vis Japan and especially Germany.
As Bob states: "I believe the story I tell here is an important one not only to those of my generation, the generation that lived through the great Depression and fought the war against fascism, but I believe it is also of great interest to succeeding generations. These latter generations are eager to learn more about life during those times of which I write, the most eventful ones of the twentieth century."
The Author: Robert A. Nusbaum was born in Titusville, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of Alabama School of Business Administration. He served in the Army from 1940 through 1945. He was a second lieutenant in the infantry and was with the 79th Infantry Division in the European Theater of Operations. His work career has been in the newspaper field, in advertising, publishing and consulting. He has two grown children and five grandchildren. Presently he is retired and lives in Sarasota, Florida, with his wife.