Saturday, March 15, 2003

Obituary: Joseph Rosen

Prominent lawyer had WWII Army role

By Karen Andrew
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Mr. Rosen

World War II veteran and lawyer Joseph E. Rosen practiced law for 65 years in Cincinnati.

"He was a fabulous lawyer," said attorney and friend, Stan Chesley of Amberley Village. "He was a true professional and a special friend. He never knew how to say `no.'"

Mr. Rosen died March 5 at Wellspring Health Center in Hartwell. He was 88.

He was a member of the grievance committees of the Ohio State and Cincinnati bar associations for more than 25 years, a past president of the Cincinnati Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Born in 1915 in Cincinnati, he graduated from Hughes High School in 1933. and the University of Cincinnati's College of Law in 1938. He joined his older brother, Hyman Rosen, in the firm of Rosen and Rosen.

From 1942-45, he served in the Army with the 207th Counter-Intelligence Corps Detachment as a special agent.

In March of 1945, he moved into Cologne, Germany with the CIC to find qualified German citizens to take over the city's government. He helped find and convince Konrad Adenauer to become mayor of Cologne. Later Adenauer became the first chancellor of the new Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany).

"He received recognition by the mayor of Cologne for his efforts," said Byron White of Wyoming, retired attorney and friend of Mr. Rosen. "He was a good storyteller, loved to tell stories. Sometimes during the course of his stories, he sang songs of the '30s and '40s - knew all of the words, sometimes changed them."

One story was from 1945, when his unit captured a notorious German female spy, code name Greta. After three days of interrogation by Mr. Rosen and his comrades, Greta was persuaded to reveal the names and locations of dozens of Gestapo agents, resulting in their subsequent capture.

The "Cincinnati Goes to War" display at the Cincinnati Museum center includes details of Mr. Rosen's wartime experiences.

"He was very modest about his role in World War II," said family friend Jerri Roberts of Wyoming. "Joe was proud of his heritage, family and career in law; he loved his late wife, Janet, a familiar tune and telling a corny joke and then laughing at it."

In December 1987 he married Janet Block, a former vice president of Shillito's (now Lazarus).

"He was a very personable guy and amiable host, although he credited his wife for their parties," said Mr. White.

"He was very well-liked and respected as a lawyer."

The Rosens enjoyed hosting parties, including fund-raisers. He was on the board of trustees of Judah Toura Cemetery and was a member of the Rockdale Temple. They were members of the Losantiville Country Club.

He was preceded in death in April 2002 by his wife of 15 years.

Survivors include a stepdaughter, Stephanie Block of Charlotte, N.C.; and stepson, Mitchell Block of Santa Monica, Calif.; and five step-grandchildren.

Services have been held.

Memorials: Cincinnati Bar Foundation, 225 East Sixth Street, Cincinnati, 45202; or a charity of the donor's choice.


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