New research taints image of Desert Fox Rommel
Gentleman warrior, military genius. The legend of Erwin Rommel, the German Field Marshal who outfoxed the British in North Africa, lives on. But a new TV documentary seeks to correct that image by arguing that his victories nearly brought the Holocaust to the Middle East.
If Erwin Rommel, lauded as a master military tactician even by his enemies, had managed to fight his way through North Africa, he would have sealed the fate of thousands of Jews who had fled to Palestine from the Nazi terror in Europe.
A new documentary broadcast on Germany's ZDF television channel this week seeks to correct Rommel's image as a gentleman warrior whose campaigns in North Africa weren't connected with the murderous wars of destruction Nazi Germany unleashed in Europe.
Separately, recently published research by two Stuttgart-based historians, Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cüppers, claims that Hitler had worked out plans to extend the Holocaust to the Middle East, and that the Nazis had forged an alliance with Arab nationalists who wanted to drive the Jewish refugees out of Palestine -- a murderous version of German-Arab friendship founded on common hatred of Jews. Jews living in the Middle East were petrified by Rommel's victories. After seizing the British fortress of Tobruk in Libya in June 1942 he set his sights on the Suez Canal, on Palestine and the oil fields of the Middle East.
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