This website is dedicated
to the memory of my parents
and to all those who served
to end Hitler's reign of terror in WWII.
To my father James D. Rosinola
May 9, 1923- March 2, 1977
The most self-sacrificing person I've ever known, dad was my rock of Gibraltor...the funniest, calmest, most stoic person I've ever known with a heart as big as he was. Thanks dad, for giving me your wonderful sense of humor, your optimism and entrepreneurial spirit. You had the patience of a saint and God knows you needed it! I lost you at a time in my life when I needed you most, but your spirit is always with me and I know you're watching over me from Heaven.
The English translation of our original family name means "nightengale" and dad certainly had a good voice though he never sang in public. But I remember many a road trip when our whole family would break out in song!
Both my parents had beautiful singing voices. Not only did mom sing she also yodeled! Dad made records in one of those little recording booths (probably at boot camp) which he sent home to his folks. I still have those old records, vinyl on one side and cardboard on the back. They still play, and when I listen to them I'm amazed at what a wonderful voice he had. He sounded exactly like Perry Como! True to his sense of humor, he recorded them with the sounds of guns going off in the background!
To my mother Ilse (Laskawy) Rosinola
Oct. 18, 1926 - Nov. 13, 2002
Mom was a German war bride. She was very young when she met dad during WWII. Her German, Russian and Polish heritage made for memorable meals in our house. There is still alot of mystery surrounding my mother's roots and much I'll never know. A very troubled soul, mom was not the easiest person to live with. All these many decades later I realize now that the horrors of war had a profound effect on her. When her town was bombed she suffered badly from burns and other injuries. She saw horrific things, and it affected her for the rest of her life. Dad never spoke of the war but now and then mom would reveal a glimpse of the tyranny and fascism that was life under Hitler. I will never know the whole story but I do know her soul is now at peace. Thanks mom, for giving me your love of nature and gutsy laugh, for lullabies sung in German, for being that stay-at-home mom whose wonderful meals always greeted us when we got home from school, and for teaching me to bake the best German butter cookies ever!
Below are some vintage photos I've been restoring. I'm hoping to restore more old family photos from the WWII era in the coming year.
mom (right), grandmom (middle) & a friend
me with mom and my favorite toy...a cat of course!
Dad served in the army in the European Theatre of Operations in England, Germany, France and Belgium. Like most veterans, he never spoke about the war. As I try and trace his footsteps back in time I'm learning something of what he and my mother experienced. He landed in France on Sept. 23, 1944 with the 788th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion. I now know he was part of the Normany Invasion (Utah Beach) and went on to fight at the Battle of the Bulge.
Dad saw the German Panzer's "big guns" and operated 40mm Howizters. At Antwerp, Belgium he shot down Nazi buzz bombs defending that important sea port. Each time they shot one down a swastika was painted on the sides of the gun. And of course, there were the gun pits to dig. My Dad has his hand on his hip in the photo below. The guns often had to be moved and new pits dug to hold them.
For the men fighting in the bitter cold and snow covered mountains of the Ardennes, the Battle of the Bulge was a brutal but important battle that helped end the war sooner than it might have ended. Against incredible odds, our brave men forever put their stamp on the history of our country. Let's never forget their bravery and sacrifice.
Dad had girlfriends in England, Germany and France, but it was my mom in Germany who captured his heart in the end. He managed to visit her several times, taking a train from Luxembourg to her home along the Rhine river. She was very young when they met. It would be a year and a half after the war ended, and dozens of letters later, that mom would come to her new home in America. In the photo below, she's shelling peas in her home economics class in Germany. She's the raven haired beauty in the front row.
Here are some of my favorites...
at her parent's home and in the town where she lived, an unknown army buddy is
pictured with him.
They had 33 swastikas on this gun when dad left the
Dad and army buddies in France
Dad was always known for his great sense of humor. No doubt it helped keep everyone sane during those dark days of war
Digging the gun pits for the Howitzers
The Howitzers used to shoot down Nazi "buzz bombs"
As I trace my dad's footsteps through WWII and the Battle of the Bulge I've met some wonderful folks who've helped me in my quest, sons and daughters of WWII vets and even an army buddy of dad's. To date, I am still trying to accomplish having a memorial plaque commemorating my father's service placed on his gravesite in Tamaqua, Pa. This has yet to be done after so many years. I am determined to see a plaque and a flag placed there. I have tried phoning and emailing the VFW and Legion in Tamaqua with no reply. It's been very discouraging. No veteran should be so forgotten.
If there is anyone out there with information on Battery B 788th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, please contact me. I will be very grateful for any information you can provide. In the meantime, enjoy the vintage photos posted here, they are a small remembrance of my parents and the times in which they lived.
According to my mother, girls were wearing their skirts much shorter in Germany when she met my dad. No doubt all the servicemen appreciated the German dress style!
Were you or a relative at the Battle of the Bulge? I would love to hear the stories of others so please feel free to email me. These stories need to be told before that great generation is all but forgotten.
Obviously dad ignored this sign!