Rommel's Danzig Connection
Contributed by John J. Gilroy, Albany NY
How many of you Danzig lovers of it’s historic and postal history know about the story of one, to whom Danzig came to be an important part part of his life, namely General Erwin Rommel (The Desert Fox)? Following are a few excerpts from the diary of this famous general, who finally paid with his life for his disloyalty to Adolf Hitler.
“My father prodded me into a careerin which I had no interest. After my military applications to both the artillery and the engineers had been rejected, I was finally accepted by the 124th Württemberg Infantry Regiment in March 1910. On July 19th, after a recent operation for inguinal hernia, I joined my regiment. Soon after, I was posted to the Royal Officer Cadet Corps in Danzig.
At Danzig, one of Germany’s most beautiful Hanseatic ports, we cadets were obliged to attend regular formal balls in the Officer’s quarters, functions of stifling propriety, at which the daughters of good Danzig citizens were invited to present themselves.
My attention was captured by a particularly graceful dancer. Lucy Mollin, a slender beauty, whose father, like my own, had been a school headmaster but was now dead. Lucie had come to Danzig to study languages. Soon we fell in love. I graduated from the Danzig Cadet School in November 1911. I received my Lieutenant’s Commission in January 1912 and sadly parted with my Lucy, to embark on my military career.
I wrote to my Lucy, back in Danzig, nearly daily, a practice that we followed throughout the years. In the Great War, I fought on the French and the Italian fronts, earning the Iron Cross and the Pour Le Merite.
In 1916, I obtained leave from my regiment and hurried back to Danzig — and my Lucy. We married and spent our short honeymoon in the city that we both loved - Danzig.
In the years following the war, a time of struggle for Germany, I became impressed with Adolf Hitler and the success of his bloodless victories in the Rhineland, Austria and the Sudetenland. Hitler now raised claims on Poland to return the Danzig Territories but Poland’sresistance led me to realize that war was inevitable.
My love for the disputed City of Danzig, was as strong as Lucie’s. It had been German when we met and fell in love and for centuries before, becoming a “Free City” only after World War I. In any case, I expect it to be a short war!
By September 19th the war in Poland was nearly over. As General in charge of the ceremonial troops, I eagerly awaited the arrival of our Führer.
Danzig Report Nr. 44 - July - August - September - 1984, Page 4.
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