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    Description

    More than 750 World War II images

    Four Photograph Albums Compiled by Erwin Rommel's Aide Hellmuth Lang, Presentation Copy of Cornelius Ryan's Book The Longest Day, and Rommel's Death Announcement. This phenomenal collection of over 750 photographs, collected and compiled by Rommel's aide-de-camp, Capt. Hellmuth Lang, is housed in four photo albums and show life in the German Wehrmacht while in operations in North Africa and in Europe. Some of the most striking images are of the body of Field Marshal Rommel, who was forced to commit suicide on October 14, 1944, after being implicated in the July 20 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Rommel's lifeless body is seen in his casket, which, despite his wishes, was festooned with the Nazi flag and surrounded by flowers.

    Earlier images show Rommel, who is always seen in uniform with his ever-present field marshal's baton, and his staff in North Africa, circa 1941-1943. Photos show wounded men in the hospital, soldiers digging trenches and lounging around camps, German aircraft, tanks, and artillery, local tribesmen, and ancient ruins.

    Rommel returned to Europe in the summer of 1943 and the bulk of the photographs date from this period. He is seen conferring with his staff, reviewing charts, inspecting downed aircraft, and, most importantly, inspecting the fortifications along the coast of Normandy -- one section of the enormous Atlantic Wall. Many of the photographs included here are of the fortifications themselves: machine gun bunkers, obstructions to which mines have been attached, walls of barbed wire, Drachenzähne (Dragon's Teeth), and artillery positions. Three of the photographs found in this collection were used by Cornelius Ryan in his book, The Longest Day. Other photos show Rommel inspecting downed aircraft, destruction on the field of battle, and buildings destroyed by bombing or artillery.

    In one of the albums, locations and people are identified with pencil notations below several of the photographs. Other high ranking German officers are seen in several of the photos throughout the albums, including Gen. Hans Speidel, Admiral Friedrich Ruge, Waffen-SS General Sepp Dietrich, et al.

    The book, a first edition copy of author Cornelius Ryan's book, The Longest Day, published in 1959 and printed entirely in German, has been inscribed to Rommel's aide-de-camp, Hauptmann [Captain] Hellmuth Lang, in red ink on the half-title page. It reads, in full: "For my friend Capt Hellmuth Lang - Field marshal Rommel's aide - who remembered Rommel's words and gave this book its title - Der Längste Tag From his friend - [signed] Cornelius Ryan." Bound in publisher's black cloth over boards with title in red on the spine.

    Also included is the announcement of Rommel's death, measuring 6" x 3.75" on black bordered mourning paper and written entirely in German, sent to Lang's wife, Maria, reading, in full: "Suddenly and unexpectedly [died] after his serious wounds from July 17, 1944,[This is the date that Rommel's car was strafed by a British plane in France. Severely injured, he survived. After his forced suicide, the German state press reported that the field marshal had died of injuries received on July 17] in his 53rd year, my beloved husband and the most faithful friend of his son, our beloved brother, brother-in-law, and uncle Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, Knight of the Order Pour le Mérite, owner of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, the Golden Wounded Badge, and other high awards. His life was service to the Fatherland. In deep sorrow on behalf of all family: wife Lucie-Maria Rommel and Manfred Rommel, Luftwaffenhelfer [air force helper]. Herrlingen near Ulm, on October 14, 1944. Visits of condolence will be asked to refrain." With the original transmittal envelope.

    All four photograph albums, the inscribed copy of The Longest Day, and the death announcement have remained in the possession of the Lang family until now.

    Condition: The photos are overall in very good condition with a few showing bends at the corners. All have been affixed to the album pages on the verso. The book shows a bit of toning on the pages, else is in fine condition. The death announcement is in fine condition.


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    Auction Dates
    November, 2015
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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