Rommel in Mazatlán
Herman Melville, Jack Kerouac, Walt Disney, Anaïs Nin, Lucille Ball, John Wayne, Errol Flynn, all spent some time in Mazatlán… but not Erwin Rommel.
OR DID HE… at least in spirit?
The Desert Fox at least make an impression on the locals… or at least one local. My corner grocery changed owners recently, and the new owners have no idea where the former owners have gone. Although the new owners have a better selection of items, and a better organized store, I kind of miss the old place, with its glass case of family mementos… including a photo (not the one above) of Erwin Rommel and… friends?
Who knew Rommel smiled? Or maybe the sun was in his eyes. But he looks quite relaxed. posing with a group of ordinary Afrika Korps soldiers in a photo someone in Mazatlán Sinaloa found significant enough to preserve as a family heirloom. Who? Why?
Were my neighborhood grocers German? That’s a real possibility, and German was still spoken in Mazatlán up into the 1960s, but most Germans emigrated to Mexico in the 19th century, or were refugees from the government that Rommel served under. Pro-Nazis? This is a real possibility here… pro-Fascist Cristeros were to be sent to their own colony in the Baja (basically to get them out of the way), and plans were made to ship them from Mazatlán to La Paz in 1940, but not all of them went, and several thousand of them ended up here at loose ends. Could the family just be a military family (we’re not just a resort town, but a naval town as well, and a number of families here have a tradition of military service). Erwin Rommel, even among his enemies, was respected for his military leadership and for being as humane as possible in an inhumane business.
So… here’s the deal. This is just a heads-up, but I’m going to sponsor a short story contest though Editorial Wisemaz. I can come up with … oh… fifty gringo dollars in prize money… for the best story (ah heck, I’ll take poetry too… extra credit for regular verse forms!) with a Mexican setting and Erwin Rommel (in the flesh or otherwise) as a character.