Erwin Rommel's Nazi Rebel Role Revisited

Film Portrays 'Desert Fox' as Weak Acolyte of Adolf Hitler

Wily ‘Fox’? Nazi field marshal Erwin Rommel is often portrayed as a rebel who tried to stand up to Hitler. A new movie takes aim at that assessment.
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Wily ‘Fox’? Nazi field marshal Erwin Rommel is often portrayed as a rebel who tried to stand up to Hitler. A new movie takes aim at that assessment.

By Reuters

Published November 01, 2012.
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“These are taboos, subjects for discussion and historical evaluation,” he said.

Film director Niki Stein described Rommel as a “weak man” who chose to look away and many historians say he was primarily bent on serving Hitler to advance his career.

Rommel’s family has denounced the script of the 6 million euro film which focuses on his growing internal conflict during the seven months of his life leading up to his death.

His son, Manfred - who was 15 when his father died and is now 83 - and granddaughter wrote to the producers last year accusing the script of the film “Rommel” of presenting “lies”.

They argued that he played a greater role in the resistance than the producers believed, said Hofmann.

The family have declined to talk to media about the film.

CYANIDE ULTIMATUM

Historians say the film is important as it will show millions of viewers the dramatic last months of the general’s life and the dilemma faced by many Germans who felt a sense of duty to their country, but were disenchanted with Hitler.

“Please watch, this film explains a little how it was back then with our grandparents, with Hitler, with fear, with joining in,” wrote a columnist in top-selling Bild daily, which has been serialising Rommel’s life.

“The Rommel film shows how a man believes he is serving a king and realises too late that he is a devil.”

Other newspapers have also run long articles on the Rommel figure and the authoritative weekly Der Spiegel splashed “The Myth of Erwin Rommel” on its cover this week.

The film shows how a conflicted general, who was one of the Nazi regime’s biggest propaganda tools, gradually turned against Hitler. In line with the historical evidence, it leaves open his role in the plot against Hitler led by Claus von Stauffenberg.


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