Manfred Rommel, son of WWII 'Desert Fox', dies at 84

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Manfred Rommel, the former mayor of the German city of Stuttgart and son of the World War II field marshal dubbed the "Desert Fox," has died. He was 84.

Rommel died Thursday, local authorities said in a statement on Stuttgart's official website. He had suffered from Parkinson's disease since 1996.

Rommel, who served as mayor for 22 years in the city of his birth, came to prominence in the 1970s and '80s as a municipal politician who earned international respect for his tolerance and liberal policies, standing up for the fair treatment of immigrant workers who helped rebuild Germany's automotive industry in the postwar years.

Rommel was a member of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union.

Manfred Rommel was deeply traumatized by the death of his father, Erwin Rommel, by suicide in 1944, minutes after the German military commander had revealed in a conversation with his son that Adolf Hitler had forced him to take a cyanide pill or face dishonor and retaliation on his family.

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Hitler suspected Erwin Rommel, who commanded the 7th Panzer Division during the 1940 invasion of France and led German and Italian forces in North Africa, of being involved in a plot to kill the German dictator, a charge that Rommel denied.

-- Bloomberg News

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