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Rommel's family complains about film profile plans

The Local · 20 Sep 2011, 08:10

Published: 20 Sep 2011 08:10 GMT+02:00

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The film, which started shooting in France at the beginning of September, is supposed to depict the Field Marshal’s complexities particularly toward the end of the war as he struggled with his conscience.

Rommel was one of Hitler’s best and most widely-respected military leaders. After fighting in World War I, he commanded part of the German defence at Normandy and his Afrika Korps fought against the Allies in North Africa. He earned the moniker the Desert Fox for his cunning command in the region.

Toward the end of the war, Rommel is said to have taken part in a plot to overthrow Hitler, believing the Nazi leader was destroying Germany. After several conspirators were found out, Rommel was given the option of trial or committing suicide.

He chose death, and his involvement in the conspiracy was only revealed after the war ended.

But his family, including his 82-year-old son, former Stuttgart mayor Manfred Rommel, believe he is being portrayed wrongly in the film.

In a letter to SWR obtained by Der Spiegel magazine, Manfred Rommel wrote that the family was concerned that there would be “lies” in the film, including the idea that his father was a social climber and Nazi criminal.

“That’s simply not true,” the letter said. “Yes, he esteemed Hitler at the beginning because he was a friend of the Army, but the mutual appreciation came to an abrupt end.”

SWR said it has been in close contact with Rommel’s family and is trying to come to an amicable agreement, although it points out that films are often a matter of historical interpretation. It anticipates showing the film sometime next autumn and said that it was continuing to conduct constructive talks with family members.

Story continues below…

Director Niki Stein said Rommel was “representative of a whole nation” because he only realized that Hitler was a horrific criminal too late to stop him.

The Local/DPA/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:19 September 20, 2011 by mos101392
Just thought I'd put my two cents worth in. As a retired American soldier living in Germany, I've done some reading on Gen Rommel and from what I've learned about him over the years is that there isn't too many, if any more honorable and respected Generals, of any country, besides him. He even treated captured allied soldiers with respect and dignity where others didn't. Just my 2 cents worth!
10:28 September 20, 2011 by Frederic 53
Hello.The mutineer German Generals of the 20 Juli have mutineered only,they recognized the war was lost for Germany.

And not they believed that Hitler was a war crimminal.

This can be said for Rommel also.As far as I am concerned,the one and only resistence Group in Nazi Germany were the members of the white Rose resistence Group.
10:57 September 20, 2011 by jg.
Frederic 53 - well said.

"Rommel .... only realized that Hitler was a horrific criminal too late to stop him."

That is wishful thinking. The thuggery of Hitler's supporters and Hitler's time in prison were no secret. Without the support of influential families, businessmen and senior military figures (like Rommel), Hitler would never have achieved power. Rommel and others like him were happy to fight for Hitler's Germany having witnessed the vilification of the Jews and events like Kristallnacht. Their support for Hitler only started to evaporate when they realised that they were going to lose.
11:11 September 20, 2011 by TheCrownPrince
Rommel, Stauffenberg and nearly all other plotters of the officer corps (there are exceptions) took action only when the tide had turned against Germany. Where were these Gentlemen for example after the fall of France, when german supremacy over the continent was nearly established and the Reich had reached the height of its military power? If you want to have a real opponent right from the start, I suppose you check out Georg Elser.
14:39 September 20, 2011 by bobmarchiano
Only after the Generals saw that Germany was about to loose the war they acted.

Rommel put thousands to death and set soldiers knowing that few would survive

If he saw the evil in hitler he should have taken his own gun put it to hitlers head and shot. There would have been no question that he was killed.

Yes he might have been killed but he would have save thousands of more lives

and it would have atoned for what he had done to Millions
16:09 September 20, 2011 by Major B
I just find it amazing there is all this WWII nostalgia about the Wehrmacht around the world, especially in America.

Especially find it amazing since Germans are so very very anti-military now.

This is so puzzling. Does anyone have any insight into this?
16:30 September 20, 2011 by melbournite
If Germans are "so very very anti-military now", where are the protests against the Bundeswehr killing civillians in Afghanistan?
17:24 September 20, 2011 by TRJ
@Major B-- Yes, you are correct that America has a strange fascination with WW II and Nazi Germany in particular. I believe it begins with the US educational process. Coverage of Germany starts with WW I (with reference to key terms like "Serb anarchist", "Archduke Franz Ferdinand", "Verdun", "Flanders" and "Treaty of Versailles". Once those are covered, it is Nazi's and war for the 90% balance of the education on Germany.

The English fall in to the same trap with their educational system.

As soon as books like The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution and the Twentiety Century (Watson); and A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People (Ozment) (English language books belonging on any Germanophile's shelf) get into the curriculum in America and England, perhaps America and England will come to realize that Germany is so much more than just 12 horrible years of the 20th century.
17:24 September 20, 2011 by neunElf
Germans learned the wrong lesson after ww2, they learned that fighting is bad.

The lesson they should have learned is, NOT FIGHTING EVIL IS BAD!
21:33 September 20, 2011 by ECSNatale
In Response to TRJ: your belief is incorrect, at least at the time I was in school in America in the 70s and 80s. My education regarding Germany started with the German tribes fighting against the Romans, included Charlemagne (Karl der Grosser), Martin Luther, the 30 Years War, Bismarck, WW1 & WW2. What it lacked was an understanding of post war Germany.. which thankfully I have been lucky to learn since moving here.

My challenge to the Germans (and do not take this as criticism) is what do you know about our history other than the slaughter of the Indians? So far, I have met very few who can tell me much about the US or even English history. To joke that we have none only shows ignorance.

As for Rommel... I have to agree with the other posters. Too many people of influence supported the Nazis as they were persecuting people from 38 on. I don't have too much sympathy for those that decided in 44 to do something about Hitler. A bit late to the party as they say.
22:06 September 20, 2011 by karldehm
Give him a break. Many of you are so eager to critize him and paint him as some kind of monster which he wasn't. The important fact is he turned against Hitler as many other Germans did when they learned the truth about what he was doing and to save what they could of what was left of Germany before the allies and Hitler completely destroyed it. For his decision he payed the ultimate price which many paid who dared to defy Hitler.

If you paint Rommel a Nazi, then all Germans at that time are Nazis.

Those of you who moralize about why more Germans did't oppose Hitler. The answer is simple. When your country is falling apart and you are starving and afraid, you will listen and accept most anything. Hitler at first did very good things for Germany. But once you give power to a madman, what do you expect but madness.

I will spare you all the boring and embarrassing details pointing out madness done by your countrymen.

As for the American who hasn't found any Germans who know American or English history, give me a try. I'll bet you I know more.
00:31 September 21, 2011 by Whipmanager
there is a book called: Hitler's Willing Executioners. I suggest everyone read it, but I hear it was banned many years ago in Germany.

I agree that many people turned against Hitler after he started losing. I find it difficult that Herr Rommel had no idea of what was going on in teh death camps, as he was so high up, someone would talk about it. He had friends and colleagues in teh GEstaop, the SS, and in a great many places. He had to at least suspect (if not outright know). He had several opportunities to kill Hitler. As for Von Stauffenberg, why did he try to save himself, and leave the bomb alone. He caused Rommel's demise. If he really believed in his duty, he would ahve stayed and made sure the job was done.

So here we are, discussing something so old and meaningless to anyone except those directly related to Rommel and a few other of the heirarchy of the Nazi and German military of WWII.

I have served with and worked alongside many of the German Warriors in the 80's and 90's. I went to several cultural exchanges and academies with them. They were fine soldiers and human beings. Just normal guys that put their pants on just like the rest of us. They have a proud history, they have been known as the worlds best fighters several times in the past, and may, one day, again be known as such. The Brits hired them as mercenaries to fight against revolutionary American freedom fighters. They helped the Americans later.

Every country has a bad period they would rather have no one remember. But as time will show, are we not all alike over the period of thousands of years? So Rommel is dead, and the truth that the family doesnt like may be portrayed, or, some lies made to amke a point about many others using Rommel as he is an icon of that age.

Do we really care?
07:25 September 21, 2011 by heyheyhey

here you are again, running your mouth as though you hold the truth

"I agree that many people turned against Hitler after he started losing. I find it difficult that Herr Rommel had no idea of what was going on in teh death camps, as he was so high up, someone would talk about it. He had friends and colleagues in teh GEstaop, the SS, and in a great many places. He had to at least suspect (if not outright know). He had several opportunities to kill Hitler. As for Von Stauffenberg, why did he try to save himself, and leave the bomb alone. He caused Rommel's demise. If he really believed in his duty, he would ahve stayed and made sure the job was done."

Can't you just shut it up?
16:37 September 21, 2011 by Englishted
I don't know the full story as many others as to Rommel's nazism or otherwise.

But I do know the British soldiers held him in high regard for his skill on the battlefield and his fair and honorable treatment of p.o.w.s.

I don't think he would have faced a war crime trail but how he would have reacted to war on the eastern front we shall never know.

@ heyheyhey

If this is offensive to you as a opinion, on a opinion page .

Then I don't care.
23:41 September 21, 2011 by wxman
"Herr" Rommel? Please, Feldmarschall if you don't mind. An exce;llent soldier, tactician and leader.
00:15 September 22, 2011 by Whipmanager
heyheyhey: It is obvious you do not live in Hamburg...you certainly not one of the happiest Germans.

And, since my livelyhood isn't affected by HEYHEYHEY, I could careless what he /or she (but I suspect a HE) says. If your only input to this conversations is to say Shutup, you should return to your Kintergarten class and see if they have anymore fingerpainting exercises for you dear. This conversations is for the adults....

Rommel was known for his fair treatment, if he had lived to go to the trials at Nuremburg, would the Military allies have rallied around him to protect him from his nazi country's loss? If you look at Rudolf Hess, he left brittain in the early days of the war, and supposedly never set foot into freedom again. He couldn't have been at fault for the war and the death camps, yet he paid a horrible price due to the Russians. I remember friends of mine saying they were on the detail, many many years ago, and they weren't allowed to talk to him. When Hess was sick, the Americans, French and Brits wanted to let him out but the Russians held fast. Now that would be a great topic for a research article.
15:45 September 22, 2011 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
I think it's unfair to say that the German officer's corps only wanted to get rid of Hitler once he started to lose the war.

The old Prussian tradition dictated absolute obedience to one's oath as a matter of honor, and the entire corps had been made to swear to allegiance to Hitler. So, to even object to him verbally, was a major dilemma of honor.

Despite that, there were 42 assassination attempts on Hitler's life, over a course of 9 years. How all 42 failed is a question that only God & Satan can answer, because he must have certainly curried the favor of one or the other in order to manage that. I'm pretty sure I know which one, too. (Hint: I bet it's warm). But it certainly had nothing to do with will. Many in the officer's corps recognized Hitler as a dangerous madman long before the war ever started, but it was difficult to not see him as the savior of the German people with the astounding and unfathomable successes he experienced early on. The officer's corps wanted to see how he would do in the war against France - and he won the war in 6 weeks, in large parts through orders he issued personally, overriding his advisers. If a man brings victory, you stop asking questions. In retrospect, his astounding victory against France was probably due to the keen insights he developed as a front soldier against the French in the previous war, since much of the campaign involved psychological intimidation of the enemy, causing them to surrender. For example, Stuka horns.
09:18 September 23, 2011 by chrishale53
You need to look at the facts - and up to date research.

The German army top brass backed Hitler to the end of the war, with a few exceptions. FACT

The German army fully participated in the destruction of European Jewry - especially in Serbia, then later in Hungary. FACT

During the African campaign, which Rommel commanded, a Task Force was attached to the Afrika Korps with the purpose of murdering North African Jews, and then the Jews of Palestine once Rommel had defeated the British and crossed the Suez Canal. FACT.

The German 'resistance' was not especially impressive, huh?
03:15 September 24, 2011 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
I don't know if you were addressing me, chrishale53, but I will comment in case you were.

Your first fact is accurate. I didn't dispute that; I explained it.

Your second fact is also accurate, but didn't have anything to do with what I was saying.

Your third fact is also accurate; except that you failed to research exactly how "welcome" Rommel made those SS companions. He just plainly didn't have the ability to send them home.

And no, Germany's resistance wasn't very impressive. It was largely smothered in it's infancy.
19:23 September 24, 2011 by chrishale53
I was addressing anyone reading this article and comment stream.

As to Rommel's opinion of the Rauff unit, you might enlighten me - but we have no record of any 'resistance'.

I am bemused by this adulation for Rommel. I guess the old myth of the 'clean Wehrmacht' is taking a long time to fade. These noble generals are - ironically perhaps - a Hollywood concoction.

Incidentally I sometimes spend time at the Friedhof where the Bonhoefffers are buried - the tragedy of the resistance is that it was so isolated.
07:34 September 26, 2011 by moparman
17:53 October 18, 2011 by Doggy
I think he was just a good man as he tried to overthrow Hitler.
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