Allied lines," said Beckerman, "and we remained
in our cave hideouts. Their target was Amster-
dam, to try to cut off the main Allied supply
route. That was when our Gen. [Anthony]
McAulliffe said 'nuts' to the Nazi request to sur-
render the town of Bastogne, and the tide turned
in our favor.
"The Germans tried anything to gain an advan-
tage. They changed road signs to confuse us, and
even dressed in American uniforms and talked
perfect English to try to trick us. Our soldiers
would shout out questions about baseball and
other well-known things about America, and if
the answers were wrong, an exchange of gunfire
Beckerman met very few Jewish soldiers over-
seas, and never experienced any form of anti-
"Besides, we.were too busy to worry about
things like that; we had an important job to do,"
After the German surrender in Europe,
Beckerman was offered a captaincy to switch his
intelligence prowess to the war in the Pacific. "No
way was I going to go there and start all over —
fighting the Japanese," he said. "So I left the serv-
Life Before War
Born in Detroit, Beckerman moved to Pittsburgh
with his family during the Depression, then back
to Detroit. He dropped out of Northern High
School "after only a few weeks" to drive a delivery
He got married and had three children, while
helping to start a successful family business, New
Way Enamelware in Oak Park, later called New
Beckerman moved from Calvert Street to Oak
Park, then Southfield. He was responsible for
sales and marketing, and the business supported
several families over four decades, before falling
victim to the recession of the early 1980s. He
retired at age 65 in 1981.
"He's a great guy — he was my mentor, my
brother-in-law, and he's still my best friend," said
Al Rosen, 77, of Farmington Hills, who worked
at New Way Housewares. "Joe likes to say I was
his right-hand man in the business."
Rosen's late wife, Shirley, was a sister of
Beckerman's first wife, Addie, who now lives in
California. Beckerman's two brothers, Oscar, 92,
and Morrie, 88, also live in California.
Beckerman, suffering from chronic arthritis and
some breathing difficulties, keeps up with current
events and has strong feelings about the war in
"It was the worst mistake any president ever
made," he said, "and now we're in a quagmire
there, just like we were in Vietnam. It was also
wrong to attack Afghanistan; all it did was antag-
onize the Muslims into more terrorist activities."
Admittedly a "dedicated Democrat," Beckerman
says he's still upset about Florida's role in the
2000 presidential elections — and the outcome.
"Our leader during World War II, Franklin
Delano Roosevelt, was the greatest president we
ever had." 0
Left: Joe Beckerman in uniform nearly 60 years ago.
Below left: Bee kerman's honorable discharge papers.
Below right: Beckerman's letter of appreciation for his service.
ARMY AIR FORCES
Tertilicate of appreciation
FOR WAR SERVICE
1 . ,48tte
CASPAR A ut,
ee,46, 4r.a e`
meet you personally to thank you for a ,lz;b well done; nor can
Rio pe CANNOT
to pia wrioen
words -thereat hope-I:have for
your success id future fife:
Together we hat the striking force that swept the .Luituaft
and brok e the
e from the skier
to resist. The
then unleas hed upon the aanese. Althozigh rata) migk 0 [that striking force was
40S&PE DEC ,;,S
1 604Z614 &
aft 0 4
St Eighth Air Fero•
Atitig i f
tory parr,s,be ronfribution pst made to the
the greatest team in the world.
the *faith *tat,*
.-4 va‘k 94.,
4 4 Trir;e5 a
you uo louse" pidy an activ
Forces was essential in making
The ties that bound as under stress of combat murt not he broken in eacetime.
Together we si.we the responsihilit
for guarding our country in the
_ttay will never forgw the part you have played whik
ill c ontinue to play a
in. uniform. IVe know
role as a dvillan. on,
wish pan God speed
and the beg of
lack an yaw road in life. Oar.
respect go with yam.
gratiimi c ansd
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