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526001

Erwin Rommel

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Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel, 1891-1944.  Brilliant German Field Marshal known as the “Desert Fox.”  Rare World War II-dated Autograph Letter Signed to his wife, from your Erwin, two pages (recto and verso), 8¼” x 11½”, Cantonment Area, January 6, 1940.  In German, with translation.

While Rommel’s autographic material is otherwise available, generally Rommel is found in documents signed merely with his last name.  This letter is thus rare.

Rommel writes his wife an interesting mixture of family and military content.  He says, in full:  “Dearest Lu!  I still have not received mail from you.  But I really hope the first letter will arrive today.  With every move it takes forever for the post office to get in step.  /  Enclosed is Gerhard’s letter.  In addition he sends a certificate of indebtedness for the 300 marks in which he tenders his life insurance policy, which is still debt free, as a guarantee of repayment.  In my opinion we should help Gerhard through his studies, especially since we have security for the loan.  /  We wouldn’t have those couple hundred marks anyway.  I think it makes no difference whether they lie in the bank or we lend them to Gerhard.  I have to remember that the family once helped us out in an emergency.  /  Helene wrote on December 31.  Mother had a nice Christmas Day.  She also has better and poorer days.  /  Here [in Berlin] there is a big flu epidemic.  So yesterday I was already in bed by 6 p.m.  Today I feel much better.  Currently there is nobody at the Chancellery.  Monday there will be a big winter maneuver in Rheden.  There is a foot of snow and the trees are heavily frost covered.  /  How are you?  How is the heating situation?  /  Within the next days I will send Lothar to get my camera, snow shoes and snow boots.  /  A part of F.M.9 will go to [unintelligible], and I want to go there as well, if there is no change in the situation.  /  That’s it for today, dear Lu.  /  My regards and kisses for you and Manfred from your Erwin.”

Writing just after the first of the year, Rommel accidentally misdated this letter 1939 rather than 1940.  This is clear because in an earlier letter dated December 10, 1939, Rommel told his wife that he would honor an urgent request by Gerhard for a loan of 300 German marks.  In this letter, Rommel shows that he has completed the loan.  Obviously this letter should have been dated after, not before, the letter of December 10, 1939.  At the time Rommel wrote this letter, then, World War II had already begun:  Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939.

Rommel wrote this letter while he was a member of Adolf Hitler’s staff.  Hitler appointed Rommel to command his bodyguard as Germany annexed the Sudetenland, and Rommel remained on his staff during the invasion of Poland.  Later Rommel commanded the 7th Panzer Division, which served with distinction in the battle for France, and thereafter commanded the Afrika Korps, opposing the British forces in North Africa.

This is a magnificent example of Rommel’s holograph, which he has boldly penned in jet black ink.  The letter is in very fine condition, with only two mailing folds, one horizontal and one vertical, neither of which affects the signature.

While we reject Nazism, we offered this piece because of its importance and because of the substantial role that the German Third Reich played in 20th Century history.

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