50 Years Philippines - Wilhelmsfeld
Correspondence Dr. Paz and Mauro Mendez concerning the traces of Dr. José Rizal in Wilhelmsfeld (1959)
(from the book of Dr. Paz Mendez: "Adventures in Rizaliana", Manila 1978)
Dr. Paz Mendez after unveiling the Rizal plaque at the vicariat in
Wilhelmsfeld on Jan. 4, 1960
1. Dr.Paz Mendez to "Schriesheimer Hof" (inn) owner, Karl Jost:
c/o Philippine Embassy
26, Avenue Georges Mandel
Paris 16, France
August 31, 1959
Wilhelmsfeld bei Heidelberg
I am a Filipino educator and writer now residing in Paris because my husband is Minister from the Philippines to France.
While in Europe, I am doing research on the life of our foremost hero and martyr. Dr. José Rizal was a physician, linguist, novelist, artist and educator, but above all he was a political thinker who worked for the liberty of his country. For this he was executed by the Spaniards in 1896, when he was only thirty - five years old.
In February 1886, he went to live in Heidelberg where he worked with Dr. Otto Becker, a German ophthalmologist. He was supposed to have spent the summer of that year in Wilhelmsfeld. He wrote several chapters of his novel Noli Me Tangere in your town.This book may be said to have influenced or sparked our revolution that brought an end to Spanish rule in our country.
While in Wilhelmsfeld, he became friends with a Protestant pastor named Ullmer. Pastor Ullmer had a Catholic priest friend who used to come over from the other side of the Rhine to visit him (=he didn't come from the Rhine which is lying far away but from the village of Schriesheim, by the Webm.). Rizal wrote glowingly of the friendship between the Protestant pastor and the Catholic priest. The three of them used to converse during the long twilight hours in Odenwald.
Last June, my husband and I went to some places in Germany where Rizal lived. We drove to Wilhelmsfeld and ate a very good lunch at your hotel. We saw a lot of old people who might have known Rizal or whose fathers might have known him. Unfortunately, I don't speak German and none of the guests at the inn spoke English of French. I there fore thought of writing to ask for your help in answering the following questions:
1. Would any of the old inhabitants of Wilhelmsfeld or their children remember José Rizal and if so, what recollections have they of him?
2. Where did Rizal live - in a pension or a private home? Is it possible that he lived at your hotel? If not, would it be possible to have a picture of the house he lived in?
3. Can you give me any information about Rizal and his Catholic priest friend?
4. What method of transportation was used to go from Heidelberg to Wilhelmsfeld in 1886 - carriage, horseback, etc.? How were the roads then and how long did the Heidelberg - Wilhelmsfeld trip take? About how many inhabitants were there in the town? What were the occupations and industries of the people then?
5. Any other information about Wilhelmsfeld like climate, religion, etc.?
The Rizal centennial will be celebrated two years from now and our government would like to place markers in the important places where he lived. Wilhelmsfeld is one of them. I hope that with your kind assistance we may be able to place a plaque on the house where he lived. Our government an I especially will be most grateful for any information you may be able to give concerning José Rizal, Pastor Ullmer, and Wilhelmsfeld. You may reply to me in either German, English or French.
Can you also send me a brochure of your hotel? I got two when I was there but I sent them to the Philippines. I am also enclosing one dollar, American money worth 4,20 Deutsch marks, for postcards or pictures of Wilhelmsfeld. If in the course of your investigation, pictures of places where Rizal or Pastor Ullmer lived can be taken, I shall be glad to reimburse you for any expenses.
Thanking you in advance for this very kind favor, I remain
MME PAZ P. MENDEZ
The famous "Schriesheimer Hof" (country inn) in Wilhelmsfeld
2. Pastor Gottlob Weber to Dr. Paz Mendez:
October 11, 1959
We are happy to be able to communicate to you some information and souvenirs about Dr.José Rizal. Pastor Ullmer was administrator of the Wilhelmsfeld parish from 1878 to 1888 and had received at his place the young doctor, José Rizal, as a guest. The son of Pastor Ullmer, a lawyer who died recently, had, during his visit to me a few years ago, recounted some fresh remembrances of Dr. José Rizal. Dr. Rizal studied at an eye clinic at Heidelberg under Professor Becker, the famous oculist at the time. The statue of his professor still adorns today the gate of the said clinic. Dr. Rizal had always spread before him on the wall of his room in the parochial house a map of the Philippines, where he worked, with an ardent love of country, his task for the liberation of his country.
Lawyer Ullmer was only 13 years old during this period, and he recounted to me stories about this doctor, Dr. Rizal, with a particular veneration and devotion. During this time I had not yet much concern about all these things otherwise I would have asked more questions. Mr. Ullmer further told me that his father had often received some news from Dr. Rizal after the latter's return to his country. These news ceased to be received when one day Mr. Ullmer had read from Heidelberg, the "Hamburger Fremdenblatt" (a foreign newspaper of Hamburg) which during this period carried foreign news and from which was learned the revolt of the Philippines and the death of the martyr, Dr. Rizal. The news had caused a great pain to all the members of the family. I have in the house the room of Dr. Rizal which still exists. The way to and from the University of Heidelberg, which the young doctor made on foot across the marvelously beautiful woods of Odenwald took three hours to walk. The conversations in the evenings during this period with Pastor Ullmer and certainly also with the Catholic priest of the Palatinate undoubtedly took place at the "Schriesheimer Hof" inn. Pastor Ullmer was very attached with the family of the inn. One proof about this was also the memorable visit of the Empress Elizabeth of Austria, who, in 1885 did the same trek on foot as Dr. Rizal did and who also stayed in this inn. Commemorative plaques of this beautiful lady who died tragically, are preserved here, - the chair in which she used to rest during noon time is still in the inn. A bunch of souvenirs concerning almost the sojourn of Dr. Rizal and important events that happened are at our disposition.
We will soon be obliged to answer more lengthily your questions on Dr. Rizal as we are still trying to trace some descendants of Lawyer Ullmer. Some pictures will be placed at your disposal.
We will do it voluntarily as we would like to share with you the precious souvenir of this incontestably valorous Son who had risen so high beyond the mass of other men of his country. We are proud that he had stayed here. If it is possible, you could do some new researches and also take some photos here on the occasion of your visit.
You will not have language difficulties as there are people here who speak both English and French very well. I am also at your disposition.
PFARRER G. WEBER
3. Dr.Paz Mendez to Pfarrer Gottlob Weber and Karl Jost (owner of the inn):
Embassy of the Philippines
26, Avenue Georges Mandel
Paris 16, France
October 16, 1959
Dear Pfarrer Weber and Mr. Jost,
You cannot imagine how happy your letter concerning Dr. José Rizal made me. The information it contained is very valuable and your statement that you will see the heirs of the jurist son of Pfarrer Ullmer about some Rizal souvenirs is very encouraging indeed. I hope they have kept the letters you mentioned; there may be other souvenirs, like small sculptures, sketches, or poems, for Dr. Rizal was also an amateur painter and sculptor and a great poet as well. He used to give his friends works of his as tokens of friendship. If these exist and are available, my husband and I will take advantage of your very kind invitation and go to Wilhelmsfeld again, also to place plaques to which you have kindly consented. What is important for us to know is the kind of weather you will be having in November and December, for we would not like to undertake a journey along icy roads. If we are not able to go there before the end of the year, how early in 1960 would you advise a trip?
I don't know how to repay you for your kindness and attention to my request. I thought you might be interested in Philippine stamps and am therefore sending you under separate cover various Philippine stamps, among them Rizal's, and two copies of a brochure on our national hero.
The photos of Schriesheimer Hof are very interesting indeed. Do you suppose that Dr. Rizal, Pfarrer Ullmer and their Catholic priest friend used to take refreshments and talk in the yard (with tables and chairs) pictured no. 825 and 826? If you have any pictures of the parish house where Dr. Rizal lived, I would be very grateful for two or three copies. I am also thinking that among the members of your parish, there may be a few like jurist Ullmer who might have known Rizal in their childhood and might be able to give their recollections of our hero.
I hope I'm not imposing too much on your generosity by asking a lot of questions on Dr. Rizal. Your very kind cooperation will add to our Rizaliana information and will contribute to a successful celebration of the centenary of our hero.
Minister Mendez joins me in reiterating our profound gratitude and in sending you our best wishes.
PAZ P. MENDEZ
4. Pfarrer Gottlob Weber to Dr. Paz Mendez:
November 6, 1959
I have discovered something: the Catholic priest who conversed with Pastor Ullmer and Dr. Rizal was not from the Palatinate but from the church of Schriesheim (9km distance), where Pastor Ullmer went to drink good wine and strolled in the magnificent forests and then went down to the auberge. The Catholic priest is called Heinrich Bardorf, lived in Schriesheim from 1880 to 1887 and died at 46 years old. He was buried at the cemetery of Schriesheim.
PFARRER G. WEBER
Hans and Fritz Hack upon their arrival in Manila in March 1960. Right to Hans is Executive Director of the Rizal National Centennial Commission Dr. Luis Montilla - and between the Hacks is Dr. Leoncio Lopez - Rizal.
5. Fritz and Hans Hack (Heidelberg) to Mauro Mendez:
Hans Hack, Cand. inv.
Fritz Hack, cand. med.
Pfarrer Weber of Wilhelmsfeld told us that you are interested in the life of Dr. José Rizal, the national hero of your country.
As you surely know, Dr. Rizal lived in Wilhelmsfeld in the house of my grandfather, Friedrich Ullmer. It was in Wilhelmsfeld where he wrote his book and where he was received by a German family. He was well loved by the entire household. In addition, he would often talk about philosophy and wanted to know about German customs.
Our grandfather has related to us his cordial friendship in his youth with the venerable Dr. Rizal. He has a collection of several letters and drawings of Dr. Rizal which he often showed us. Before his death in 1953, he gave them to my brother and me. We also own a sample of Noli Me Tangere dedicated to my grandfather.
In his letters Dr. Rizal wrote about his stay in Berlin and of a forthcoming voyage across Europe before his departure for Manila. He also wrote about Manila, of his life there, of the opinions about his book and its big success. But the letter was not only about his joys. Dr. Rizal wrote about his conflict with the church and the government which forbade the reading of the book. (Nevertheless it was sold in the black market.)
Mr. Weber has told us that your Excellency and your wife are coming to Heidelberg on December 27. If you are interested in seeing our collection of which the family is very proud, it would be a great honor for us to show you all the objects.
We will be very happy about your visit in the home of our parents. (Heidelberg - Rohrbach, 6 Lindenweg Tel. 30996)
We greet you with the expression of our biggest considerations.
FRITZ and HANS HACK
(Note: Translated from the original French)
6. Mauro Mendez to Hans Hack:
December 21, 1959
Dear Mr. Hack,
I have your letter of December 16th and I wish to thank you for the excellent information it brought me. Your knowledge of the life of our national hero, José Rizal, makes it my duty to see you, so that my trip to your place has become a "must" in my program for the immediate future. I extremely regret that owing to my tight diplomatic schedule for the rest of the month, I will not be able to visit your home on the 27th as originally planned, but I should be able to make it pretty surely before the middle of January, at the latest. Mrs. Mendez and I are extremely anxious to meet you and listen to all you have to say about the Filipino martyr - hero. Perhaps we might interest you to visit our country officially, in connection with the centenary oberservance of the death of Dr. José Rizal in 1961.
Self-portrait (pencil sketch) by Dr. José Rizal 1886 (1861-1896)
7. Pfarrer Gottlob Weber to Dr. Paz Mendez:
December 22, 1959
Dear Mrs. Mendez:
I have the pleasure to inform you that we have found an entire series of the original works of Dr. Rizal, several letters personally typical and interesting as well as his book NOLI, letters and postcards from Hongkong, Manila and London, water color and pencil sketches as well as a portrait of Dr. Pastor Ullmer, etc.
We will be happy about your coming. According to latest news the roads leading to this place are good. We have found a Hotel for you (one that is noted for its cuisine and is well furnished).
I have found all the plaques (that you need).
I have found the grand - daughter of Pastor Ullmer in whose place are souvenirs of Rizal.
I do hope too that the schedule of your trip will go well so we would all be happy together to think of our dear Dr. Rizal. Why have I not known him!
For you have your dear husband to have a Merry Christmas. It would be wonderful to re - see here in Wilhelmsfeld the place where Dr. Rizal spent his happy life.
P.S. The best routes to come here are via: National route 1 Chalons - Verdun Metz - Saarbruck - Kaiserslautern (Highway) - in Weinheim (some Kms. from Mannheim) - Schriesheim - Wilhelmsfeld.
(Photo v. "Schriesheimer Hof" m. Erlaubnis des Besitzers H.Simon v. 10.Mai 2010)
|| Index || Die Familie|| Kreuzwertheim/Wertheim|||| NABU Wertheim| |Links |
Dr. José Rizal in Heidelberg und in Wilhelmsfeld (1886)
und Nachruf (Obituary) für Dr. José Rizal von Prof. Virchow (1897):
| José Rizal in Heidelberg & Wilhelmsfeld & Knights of Rizal, Wilh.-Heid. Chapter (Versammlungen/Meetings in Wilhelmsfeld) I
| Rizal in Heidelberg and in Wilhelmsfeld (part II) |
| Rizal's letters from Heidelberg I | Rizal's letters from Heidelberg II |
| Flores de Heidelberg (Engl.-Deutsch) - Gedicht von J.Rizal |
| Rizal's letters to Pastor Ullmer, Wilhelmsfeld, 1886-88|
| Prof. Virchow: Obituary for Dr. José Rizal (1897) |
| Prof. Virchow: Nachruf für Dr. José Rizal (1897)|
Knights of Rizal - Wilhelmsfeld-Heidelberg Chapter und
der Rizal-Park in Wilhelmsfeld (Odenwald):
| Wilhelmsfeld - Heidelberg - Chapter 2010 - 2012 (Vorstand)|
| Meetings/Treffen der Knights of Rizal des Wilhelmsfeld-Heidelberg Chapters|
| Supreme Commander in Wilhelmsfeld 2001|
| Rizalfeier zum 141.Geburtstag/Wilhelmsfeld 2002|
| 25 Jahre Rizal-Park, Wilhelmsfeld, 1978-2003|
| Rizals 146. Birthday - 10 Years Wilhelmsfeld-Heidelberg Chapter (June 17,2007)|
|50 Years Philippines - Wilhelmsfeld: "The Wilhelmsfeld Story", by Dr.P.Mendez|NEW!!
| 50 Jahre Beziehungen Philippinen - Wilhelmsfeld: "Die Wilhelmsfeld Story"|NEU!!
| E-Mail |
|The Rizal - Flyer about the Rizal - places in Heidelberg and in Wilhelmsfeld| NEW!! NEU!!
since May 10, 2010
updated: Oct. 20, '10