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 Generalfeldmarshall Erwin Rommel's Interment

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ritter
Maj
Maj


Number of posts : 265
Age : 87
Localisation : North Huron Township, ON,Canada
Cap Badge : Royal Canadian Artillery
Places Served : CFB Valcartier, CFB Borden, AFVR Meaford, Ipperwash, CAN; Hannover, Putlos; 21 Fd Regt RCA(M)
Registration date : 2011-07-09

PostSubject: Generalfeldmarshall Erwin Rommel's Interment   13/4/2012, 00:53

BAOR(27CIB) surfers,
GFM Erwin Rommel's Interment
In late Feb 2012 my son, David, advised me that he was going on a company business trip to Ulm, Germany. As he had always shown an interest in military history , I advised him to look for Rommel's burial site near Ulm and asked him to take some digital pictures. The circumstances of Rommel's epic fall from grace, his forced suicide, and his state funeral are all well documented. What is less well known are the circumstances following his death and his subsequent interment after his state funeral. Rommel had always been associated with the city of Ulm even though he was born in a nearby small village and buried in another small town of Herrlingen, now a suburb of Ulm. The picture below is Rommel's home known as Haus Friedenthal located the country near the town. The home seems overly modest for such a highly decorated German Feldmarshall.

The house was owned by Rommel and his family from 1943-1945. A plaque mounted on a wall outside the home summarizes the land registry records of all the owners from 1906 to the present. The house and some nearby structures were utilized as a children's school three times during its history. The following translated words will help the reader to follow the ownership records shown on the picture below.
Wohnsitz - legal residence
besitz - possessing property
kinderer - children
schullandheim- rural school house
Another historical fact was that one of the buildings was a boarding school for Jewish children from 1933-1939. When the school was closed down in 1939 by the Nazi administration, the building was used to house Jewish residents from the area until they could be transported to concentration camps.

When Rommels car was straffed on 17 Jul 1944 in Germany he was seriously injured and returned to his home in Herrlingen to recouperate with his wife, Lucie and 15 year old son, Manfred, who was an auxiliary with an anti-aircraft battery in Ulm. While back home in residence, the failed assassination attempt on Hitler's life took place on 20 July 1944 at the Wolf's lair in East Prussia. The subsequent investigation implicated Rommel sufficiently for Hitler to charge him with high treason. On 14 Oct 1944, Rommel's house was surrounded by the Gestapo while two army officers, Generals Wilhelm Burgdorf and Ernst Maisel called to advise him of Hitler's charge. He was advised that he was going to be tried in the People's Court in Berlin unless he chose the alternative of a forced suicide in return for Hitler's promise to provide him with a state funeral, to provide his wife with his pension, as well as a promise that no further action would be taken against his family. He was given 10 minutes to reach a decision and to say his farewells to his wife, son, and his military aide. Rommel with his characteristic stoicism opted for the forced suicide. After saying his farewells, he put on his favorite uniform and with his marshal's baton got into Burgdorf's Opel. He was driven out into the country on a lane to a remote area between two fields where he was given the customary cyanide capsule for his self administered suicide. His body was immediately sent to the hospital in Ulm. Plans for his state funeral which had already been put into place were implemented. Hitler's funeral wreath had already arrived in Ulm from Berlin on the train.

The memorial stone referred to as Rommel's "Gedenkstein" and shown above was erected some time later on the exact site of his forced suicide. The upper plate has the following words:
" General
Feldmarshall
Erwin
Rommel
+ 14.10.1944"
Below is a second plaque with a translation which gives the gist of the message:
"On 14 Oct 1944 GFM Erwin Rommel was forced to commit suicide here. He took the poisoned cup and sacrificed himself to save the lives of his family from Hitler's henchmen"
The words "he took the poisoned cup" are a fanciful allusion to the very much earlier forced suicide of the Greek philosopher, Socrates who drank the cup of poison hemlock in 399BC. In Rommel's suicide it was the familiar cyanide capsule.
On 18 Oct 1944 Rommel's state funeral was held in Ulm. Following the funeral the local Nazi administration in Herrlingen inherited the responsibility of the committal and interment of Rommel's remains. Hitler reneged on his promise to erect a significant monument to the glory of Rommel's military achievements and since a military cemetery was not permitted the local administration had to cast around for a remote site of Herrlingen municipal property to bury him.

The picture above shows Rommel's grave site where he was interred and where he may have been the first burial in the plot which later became a municipal cemetery. His grave marker is the epitome of simplicity, consisting of a wooden post capped off above and below by two painted iron crosses. The lower cross commemorates his service with the Africa Korps showing the dates and centred in the middle with a palm tree. The small stone marker on the ground to the right commemorates his wife, Lucie. Associated with this burial site is a small archiv(museum)at the Villa Lindenhof, a municipal building which formerly was a Jungenstil residence. The unstaffed Archiv is open to the public but visitors must contact Herr Bohrucker or Frau Bohnacker by telephone to arrange a viewing

It is very puzzling that little has been done on any of the sites relating to Rommel's burial in Herrlingen to update and promote his military legacy. My son's view was that there is still a lingering concern there about how much Rommel knew about the concentration camps, the final solution, and the holocaust and that these concerns may be carried on into perpetuity.
Pictures courtesy David Ritter , North Bay, Ontario
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Shelldrake
FM
FM


Number of posts : 2981
Localisation : Camberley
Cap Badge : Royal Artillery
Places Served : Troon, Lippstadt, Devizes, NI, Paderborn, Dortmund, Colchester, Belize, Canada, Cyprus, Gutersloh
Registration date : 2010-10-26

PostSubject: Re: Generalfeldmarshall Erwin Rommel's Interment   13/4/2012, 07:56

Excellent, as usual Bob. That would definitely be worth a visit on my next trip to Germany.
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jim
Let Gen
Let Gen


Number of posts : 1291
Localisation : Sutton Coldfield
Cap Badge : RAOC
Places Served : Dad, Hamburg, Bad Oeynhausen, Iserlohn, Bury, Osnabruck, Worcester. Me Detmold, Bielefeld, NI, HK
Registration date : 2008-01-03

PostSubject: Re: Generalfeldmarshall Erwin Rommel's Interment   13/4/2012, 09:15

WOW, thanks Bob, very interesting.
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PostSubject: Re: Generalfeldmarshall Erwin Rommel's Interment   13/4/2012, 09:52

That should interest Jimsigs.
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jim
Let Gen
Let Gen


Number of posts : 1291
Localisation : Sutton Coldfield
Cap Badge : RAOC
Places Served : Dad, Hamburg, Bad Oeynhausen, Iserlohn, Bury, Osnabruck, Worcester. Me Detmold, Bielefeld, NI, HK
Registration date : 2008-01-03

PostSubject: Re: Generalfeldmarshall Erwin Rommel's Interment   13/4/2012, 13:08

Quote :
My son's view was that there is still a lingering concern there about how much Rommel knew about the concentration camps, the final solution, and the holocaust and that these concerns may be carried on into perpetuity.

I suspect it would be very difficult for people on that level of command not to know really Bob.

What do others think?
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Shelldrake
FM
FM


Number of posts : 2981
Localisation : Camberley
Cap Badge : Royal Artillery
Places Served : Troon, Lippstadt, Devizes, NI, Paderborn, Dortmund, Colchester, Belize, Canada, Cyprus, Gutersloh
Registration date : 2010-10-26

PostSubject: Re: Generalfeldmarshall Erwin Rommel's Interment   13/4/2012, 14:44

I believe that anyone of that rank, and who subscribed to the Nazi ideology, would have known exactly what was going on, it would have been difficult not to. Rommel was a professional soldier and I should think that Concentration Camps could have been "The elephant in the room".
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PostSubject: Re: Generalfeldmarshall Erwin Rommel's Interment   13/4/2012, 16:59

Of course he knew..
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brum
FM
FM


Number of posts : 2808
Age : 75
Localisation : Sandbach Cheshire
Cap Badge : RA/QOH
Places Served : JLRRA (Hereford) Nienburg Paderborn Colchester Munster Maresfield (Cyprus) Hohne Hemer Op Banner x4 Woolwich
Registration date : 2010-03-02

PostSubject: Re: Generalfeldmarshall Erwin Rommel's Interment   13/4/2012, 21:14


I find it hard to accept that high-ranking nazi officers didn't know about the Final Solution.

Just a thought, have any of the other top brass been dedicated in the same way as von Rommel ?

How about von Rundstedt, von Paulus (he was a Prussian wasn't he ?), Guderian, und so weiter ?
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jim
Let Gen
Let Gen


Number of posts : 1291
Localisation : Sutton Coldfield
Cap Badge : RAOC
Places Served : Dad, Hamburg, Bad Oeynhausen, Iserlohn, Bury, Osnabruck, Worcester. Me Detmold, Bielefeld, NI, HK
Registration date : 2008-01-03

PostSubject: Re: Generalfeldmarshall Erwin Rommel's Interment   15/4/2012, 06:58

Not sure Brummie, I can't recall any other's of the NAZI top brass generals being honoured. I wonder how they did reconcile the concentration camps to themselves.

I read Albert Speer's autobiography and he skited over that issue, claiming he was taken to one by Himmler and was physically sick at the sight.
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