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The General: William Levine, Citizen Soldier and Liberator by Alex Kershaw and Richard Ernsberger Jr.


As William P. Levine, a young Jewish U.S. Army intelligence officer, moved deeper into the Dachau concentration camp, he was speechless at the horrors he encountered. Even though liberated, the prisoners were still at risk. Levine caught a young Jewish prisoner, Maurice Pioro, as he was about to collapse and carried him to safety. It was in this moment, in hindsight, that Levine realized that the world needed a strong America.  

Following World War II, Levine embodied the sentiment of “The American Century” believing that it was America’s responsibility and his duty to prevent such atrocities in the future. He chose to remain in the U.S. Army Reserve to fight for freedom and democracy around the globe. Levine served as one of the highest ranking Jewish soldiers in American history, a major general, the highest ranking in the U.S. Army Reserve at the time. 

Although Levine served honorably in the U.S. Army for decades, his family knew little of his WWII experiences. They didn’t know he was on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. They didn’t know about his role in the liberation of Dachau. They didn’t know about the Jewish Soviet Soldier named Leon Kotlowsky who Levine encountered in Germany when their units met at the Elbe River. Their shared knowledge of Yiddish allowed them to celebrate the Allied victory together. 

In the early 1980’s, Levine was reunited with the Dachau prisoner and the Soviet soldier. In those moments, he was inspired to break his decades of silence and finally share the haunting story of his experiences during WWII. 

The General paints a moving portrait of a family man, a business man, a man of faith and a military man who loved his country.