Was the ‘Desert Fox’ a Nazi? German defense ministry official sparks debate with Rommel tweet

A German defense ministry official became the target of an angry Twitter mob after paying tribute to Erwin Rommel, igniting furious debate about whether the German general was a hero or a Nazi war criminal.

Peter Tauber, a senior defense ministry official who previously served as the Secretary General of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), took to Twitter on Sunday to commemorate the anniversary of Rommel’s death.

“Erwin Rommel, who was forced to commit suicide by the Nazis, died 74 years ago today,” Tauber wrote.

The tweet was poorly received, with many pointing to Rommel’s alleged crimes as a field marshal serving Hitler’s Nazi Germany.

“Sorry, was your account hacked?” Petra Pau of the Left Party replied. “Rommel participated in war crimes (to put it mildly), like so many others.”

“That war crimes were committed under his command in Italy should not be forgotten here,” Green MP Omid Nouripour said.

As per tradition, the tweet was also bombarded with a hailstorm of sarcastic memes.

However, others came to Tauber’s defense, with one Twitter user noting that “the barracks where I am stationed is still called Rommel Barracks.”

In a follow-up tweet, Tauber dismissed“leftist” anger over his comment as mere hyperventilation. He also defended his tweet in an interview with Bild, in which he claimed that Rommel had “repeatedly disregarded criminal orders” and had heroically plotted against Hitler.

Known as the “Desert Fox” for his crafty tactical displays in North Africa, Rommel was forced to commit suicide on Hitler’s orders, after being implicated in a plot to kill the Nazi leader.

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