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Injury and death

2 days after the ultimatum message to the Fuehrer, July 17, 1944, during an inspection trip to the front, Rommel urgently needed to return to the command post. In the Livarot area, 2 Allied aircrafts were spotted behind Rommel's car. At high speed, a few meters above the ground at a distance of 500 meters, they shot a command vehicle. At that moment Rommel turned around and looked back. The hit fell on the left side of the car. The explosion of a grenade of the driver Oberfeldwebel Daniel tore off his left arm and crushed his left shoulder, as a result he lost consciousness. Shards of glass severely cut Rommel's face, he received a severe blow to his left temple and cheekbone, and he also lost consciousness. Major Neuhaus suffered a fractured pelvis.

Attack on the Rommel's staff car

At high speed the car was driven into a ditch on the left side of the roadway. Rommel held on to the handle of the rear door of the car with his right hand, because of this it opened, and he was thrown into the road unconscious - he remained lying on the right side of the road, 20 meters from the car.

Lightly injured, Lang and Holke immediately carried Rommel to safety under the trees. He was lying on the ground, all the wounds on his face were bleeding profusely, especially from the area of ​​the eyes and from the mouth. The left temple was dissected and strongly depressed. Without regaining consciousness, Rommel was taken to the Luftwaffe hospital located 40 kilometers away. Military surgeons examined the marshal and recorded a fracture of the base of the skull, two fractures of the temporal bone, a splinter fracture of the zygomatic bone, damage to the eyeball, shrapnel wounds to the head and concussion.

1 map location of Rommel's staff car
2 map location of Rommel's staff car
3 map location of Rommel's staff car


A few days later, Rommel was transferred to the Le Vesinet military hospital near Paris. On August 8, 1944, despite the categorical objections of doctors, Rommel succeeded in being sent to Herlingen near Ulm, in a house rented in 1943. There, under the supervision of famous professors of medicine and a caring wife, Rommel quickly recovered. The public learned about the incident and that Erwin Rommel was removed from office only in August. The day before he was sent to Herlingen, on August 7, 1944, he was awarded the "Wound Badge in Gold".

Rommel in the house in Hedenheim


Well known, a month before that, on June 20, 1944, there was an attempt on the life of Adolf Hitler. Hitler survived with concussion and bruises. Keitel and Jodl accused Rommel of spreading defeatist sentiments and anti-government agitation. Other top representatives of the Third Reich, like Goebbels and Goering, had long been angry with him. Rommel made no secret that immediately after recovering, he intends to take action to end the war. In this regard, a great danger loomed around the field marshal. The Gestapo had already eavesdropped on all of Rommel's conversations and was under constant surveillance. Since August, movement has been constantly observed around Rommel's house, and even an attempt to break into the house has been prevented. Bormann was in charge of Rommel's surveillance.

20 june 1944 plot

Meanwhile, Rommel was meeting with friends from the First World War from the mountain rangers. They recalled the old days and analyzed the present doomed position of Germany. In early October, Hitler, Keitel, Himmler, and Burgdorf held a special meeting on the "Rommel case." Given the popularity of the Field Marshal and the public outcry that a formal prosecution might have caused, Hitler decided on extrajudicial execution. Rommel understood everything and was inwardly prepared for the worst.

On October 14, 1944, at exactly 12:00, General Burgdorf and Generalleutnant Maisel appeared, around the house there were 5 trucks with SS soldiers. After an hour's conversation, the pale Rommel entered the bedroom where his wife was waiting, and said: "In a quarter of an hour I will die ...". Hitler presented him with a choice: to take poison or appear for the "People's Tribunal". Rommel understood that he would not be given the opportunity to get to Berlin alive, so he chose poison. Before leaving, Rommel told his wife that he could have been betrayed by Stülpnagel, Speidel or Hofacker during interrogations at the Gestapo. In addition, Rommel appeared on the lists of Ober-Burgomaster Gardeler as the main candidate for the post of Reich President. Subsequently, the greater suspicion of historians fell on Speidel, and for some reason he is one of the few surviving conspirators of "June 20".

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel

Rommel was still alive, and in Berlin they were already actively preparing for the funeral ceremony and wreaths were ordered. Hitler also promised that in case of a voluntary death, the Rommel family will not be touched by anyone, but on the contrary, country will take care of them and pay a pension. After parting with his family, Rommel said to his adjutant Hauptman Aldinger: "... I have no fault. I am not involved in any crime. I have served Germany all my adult life ... ".

Erwin Rommel left the house in full dress and with a marshal's baton, got into a car driven by an SS soldier, followed by both generals. After that, the car turned around and drove away. Having driven into the forest zone, Rommel bit through the capsule with poison and died suddenly after 3 seconds. On October 15, 1944, at 20:00, German radio stations broadcast the death of Erwin Rommel in their evening news bulletin. It sounded like this: "... in connection with the recent severe injury." He was a national hero, the last hopes of the German people for a better future were associated with his name.

Funeral ceremony for Erwin Rommel


On October 18, in the assembly hall of the Ulm Town Hall, which was later destroyed during the bombing, representatives of all types of troops, party and state leaders, envoys of the vassal states of Germany gathered. Field Marshal von Rundstedt delivered the farewell speech on behalf of Hitler. To the sound of a song about a comrade in arms and volleys of artillery, the coffin was taken out of the Town Hall. Thousands of people froze in mournful silence on both sides of the square.

Erwin Rommel's farewell parade


Since it was necessary to hide the traces of the crime, Berlin prohibited an autopsy and the body of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was cremated. On October 21, 1944, an urn with ashes was buried in the modest rural cemetery of Herlengen, where Rommel asked to be buried, enjoying the peace and quiet of these places.

Erwin Rommel in his coffin


His ability, in the most unfavorable situation and with a threefold superiority of the enemy's forces, to go into battle and completely destroy the enemy with the most cunning maneuvers, has become a legend. There are a huge number of computer games and films with the main character Erwin Rommel. Books and informative Internet sites about the legendary field marshal continue to appear.

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel is dead


"If his opponents do not hide their admiration and respect, then we, the Germans, can only bow our heads low for the blessed memory of the hero who gave his life for the bright future of his people!" - Koch Lutz

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