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Manfred Rommel about father during interview

Manfred Rommel interview


Your father was a professional soldier and left a good memory of himself even among his opponents. And what memories do you have about him as the father of the family?


He was very attached to his family and every day he wrote letters to my mother from the front. Farewell letters from Africa ... But he was lucky, and he returned from there alive.


We didn’t spend much time together - these days he took me on a ski trip with him. For me it was torture. My father was in command of the mountain shooters as far back as the First World War. He was a great skier. He went skiing before dawn and could spend hours skiing in the snow. When I begged him to return home, he replied: "Whoever talks a lot, he has nothing to breathe." In Austria, he even organized a military ski club. During the time of the African campaign, the father came every six months to Germany for a few days to meet with Hitler at his headquarters. During these visits, he would drop home for two or three days. I put my affairs in order or went hunting.


Was the Desert Fox a hunter?


My father was fond of mathematics and science. He was not interested in politics, although he was very well versed in the global economy. He also liked to build models of ships. But his real passion was hunting. He became interested in hunting when he was forty years old.


The walls of our apartment were hung with trophies. My father even ordered to remove portraits of relatives and decorate the walls with stuffed deer and wild boar heads. Instead of a portrait of my mother, he was going to hang the roe deer, but my mother was indignant, and he left this idea ...


Did you go hunting with him too?


Yes, I had to run after him, reloading a total of three guns. I don’t want to say that I did it with great pleasure, since I myself am not by nature a hunter.


I cannot see in your apartment your father's hunting trophies...


I distributed them to lovers of similar souvenirs. I think my father would forgive me for that. If it were my own prey, then perhaps it would be valuable to me. So, in my house, I left only a couple of sprawling deer antlers in the hallway, like a coat hanger.


How did the Desert Fox treat schnapps?


He did not tolerate alcohol and tried not to drink. But, "taking for a mood," he became unusually friendly. One time he and my mother went on a picnic, where after two glasses in the company of officers of his unit, he suddenly rose and declared publicly: "My name is Erwin." And he invited everyone to call him like a friend.


Did it work?


No. No one dared, although he was an extremely modest man. My father did not like the high society life at all. He did not like to go into the city. There he was recognized and pointed out: "Look, Rommel is coming!" Many wanted an autograph. Even his main opponents, the British, considered him, as they say now, a star. His portrait in wartime appeared even on the cover of "Time" magazine.

The Desert Fox on the front page of magazine "Time"
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