Nazi general's decision gave family new life
Who would have thought that an assassination plot would be the path that brought a German family to America.
After working his way up to the rank of general in Hitler’s army, Erwin Rommel was asked to become part of Operation Valkyrie, otherwise known as the July Plot.
After Hitler was made aware of Rommel’s quiet involvement. He sent two generals to give him an ultimatum of killing himself to receive a hero’s death or being defiant and having his entire family killed with him.
Shortly before Rommel chose suicide by poison to protect his family, he urged his wife and closest family to leave the country and move to the U.S. for a better life.
For Michael Karm, 25, of La Porte, Texas, his dreams and aspirations stem from a decision made by a relative he never knew.
Karm believes his family ancestry and upbringing give him a distinct gratefulness for living in the U.S.
“It’s a unique story that few people can relate to, and it makes me very appreciative that my family is here in the States,” says Karm.
Karm’s great-aunt is Lucia Maria Rommel. The former Lucia Maria Mollin met Erwin Rommel while he was at cadet school. They married on Nov. 27, 1916.
Karm knows that Rommel, whose forces faced off with U.S. Gen. George S. Patton in North Africa, is one of the reasons he lives and breathes today.
“Rommel is the reason that many members of my family survived the horrors of Nazi Germany,” said Karm.
Karm believes Rommel would be proud that his family line continued, as well as his success in education.
“I would certainly hope that he is proud of me because of my education and that … our family had escaped poverty,” said Karm.
Karm graduated from the University of Texas-Austin with a double major in history and political science in December 2010. And while he is not the first person in his family to go to college, he is the first person in his family to graduate.
“I wanted Michael to go to college because I never got to finish my degree,” said Clint Karm, Michael’s father.
Karm has big plans for his life.
“I want to make an impact on the world; however, I am having trouble finding out where I want to apply my talents,” said Karm.
Karm is currently considering building a media venture with the intent of offering news, blogs, educational tools and more to the general public. With the help of his associates, he is attempting to locate start-up capital for the business.
Karm believes Rommel would be intrigued by his media venture plans.
“I think at the end of his career, he would have been interested because it is completely backward from the society he lived in. There would definitely be some culture clash,” said Karm.
ABOUT Michael Karm
COMMUNITY CONNECTION: La Porte resident
FAST FACT: Karm is the first person in his family to graduate college.
Rupley is a journalism student at the University of Houston Clear Lake.
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