Rommel International Airport?

Thomas Lifson
Stuttgart, Germany is considering renaming its international airport after former Mayor Manfred Rommel, son of the Desert Fox, perhaps the most talented among the generals Hitler employed, Erwin Rommel. An article in the Stuttgarter Zeitung (English version via Google Translate) makes no mention of any controversy over the appropriateness of having the city’s global gateway bear a name renowned to history as that of a Nazi general.

I am conflicted on this issue. On the one hand, Manfred Rommel had a spotless record so far as anything even hinting at Nazi sympathies, and the sins of the father should not be visited upon the son. Moreover, though a Nazi general, Rommel was not a party member, and when defeat seemed likely, he threw himself in with the faction planning to assassinate Hitler. And evidently Manfred Rommel was regarded as an effective mayor of Stuttgart, an economic powerhouse (home of Mercedes-Benz and many other world class companies) and capital of Baden-Württemberg, the third largest among Germany’s states. The airport itself ranks number six among German airports.

But on the other hand, there is one person named Rommel that most non-Germans have ever heard of. The thought of landing at Rommel International would not be a comfortable one for me if booking an airline ticket.

Stuttgart, Germany is considering renaming its international airport after former Mayor Manfred Rommel, son of the Desert Fox, perhaps the most talented among the generals Hitler employed, Erwin Rommel. An article in the Stuttgarter Zeitung (English version via Google Translate) makes no mention of any controversy over the appropriateness of having the city’s global gateway bear a name renowned to history as that of a Nazi general.

I am conflicted on this issue. On the one hand, Manfred Rommel had a spotless record so far as anything even hinting at Nazi sympathies, and the sins of the father should not be visited upon the son. Moreover, though a Nazi general, Rommel was not a party member, and when defeat seemed likely, he threw himself in with the faction planning to assassinate Hitler. And evidently Manfred Rommel was regarded as an effective mayor of Stuttgart, an economic powerhouse (home of Mercedes-Benz and many other world class companies) and capital of Baden-Württemberg, the third largest among Germany’s states. The airport itself ranks number six among German airports.

But on the other hand, there is one person named Rommel that most non-Germans have ever heard of. The thought of landing at Rommel International would not be a comfortable one for me if booking an airline ticket.