Order of the Knights of Rizal  of the

Wilhelmsfeld-Heidelberg-Chapter (Germany)

Visit of the Supreme Commander of the Knights of Rizal on October 14th, 2001 in Wilhelmsfeld/Odenwald 


          The statue of Dr.José Rizal in the Rizal-Park of Wilhelmsfeld/Odenwald near Heidelberg - made by the Philippine artist Caedo - erected 1978

During their trip to some European countries like Germany and France, Sir Vicente P. Palmon, Supreme Commander of the Knights of Rizal, with his wife, and the Deputy Supreme Commander, Sir Carmelo T. Gempesaw, made also a visit to the little town of Wilhelmsfeld (Odenwald), near Heidelberg. After a stay of two days in Berlin and in Potsdam, the visitors arrived in the Rizal-town of Wilhelmsfeld on October 14. Some Chapter Commanders from European countries like Spain, Austria, Belgium  and other towns of Germany like Cologne, Freiburg and Frankfurt joined this meeting.

The Supreme Commander of the Knights of Rizal, Sir Vicente Palmon (fifth person from the left) and the Deputy Supreme Commander, Sir Carmelo Gempesaw (second person from the left) with Sir Rainer Weber - Chapter Commander of the Wilhelmsfeld-Heidelberg-Chapter (third person from the right) - with some other Chapter Commanders from Belgium, Austria, Spain and Germany.


The meeting began with the wreath laying-ceremony (Kranzniederlegung) at the Rizal-statue in the Rizal-Park: At this occasion Sir Rainer Weber, the Chapter Commander of the Wilhelmsfeld-Heidelberg-Chapter made the following speach:

Ladies and Gentlemen, meine Damen und Herren!

We have assembled today to commemorate the national hero and martyr of the Philippines, and as somebody called him, "the greatest son of the Malayian race", Dr. José Rizal.

Therefore I want to welcome the Supreme Commander of the Knights of Rizal,   Sir Vicente P. Palmon with his wife, the Deputy Supreme Commander, Sir Carmelo T.Gempesaw, the Chapter Commanders and representatives of the Chapters from Koeln, Freiburg, Frankfurt, Vienna, Spain and Belgium, Mayor Hans Zellner as the representative of the village of Wilhelmsfeld, the members of our Chapter Wilhelmsfeld-Heidelberg and all our guests and friends of Dr.José Rizal.

We are here, where José Rizal, who had travelled all over the world in his days, spent a short but important period of his life, 115 years ago. Why did he come to this, at his time, tiny and remote village of Wilhelmsfeld?

He wanted to study ophthalmology (Augenheilkunde) at the new and yet renowned Eye Clinic at Heidelberg University, where he enjoyed the academical and intellectual life at a university.  During one of his walks above Heidelberg, which inspired him to write his poem "A las flores de Heidelberg", he met the Protestant Pastor of Wilhelmsfeld, Carl Ullmer, who invited Rizal to stay in his house. For practical reasons, here life was cheaper and quieter and gave him the chance of learning German, Rizal happily accepted the offer and came to Wilhelmsfeld.

Here Rizal found understanding, hospitality, friendship and religious tolerance, when he, with his host Pastor Ullmer, met Catholic priests in neighbouring villages and had many discussions. He realized the importance of education, diligence and tolerance for the progress of a nation, as it was achieved in Germany at that time, and he understood that many things which he experienced here, could serve as an example for his nation.

So all in all, he was very much influenced by the impressions he had here, and he was willing to adopt many of them. He modified the book he was just writing, "Noli me tangere", under these influences and he even described Wilhelmsfeld in his novel.

These positive experiences were only possible through the hospitality of Pastor Ullmer, who spontaneously invited Rizal and offered Rizal the feeling of having a home, though being so far away from home.  Here Rizal found friendship, appreciation, calmness, inspiration and encouragement.

75 years later, Pastor Weber, one of Ullmer's successors, also had an important share in the fact that Rizal is remembered in Wilhelmsfeld after such a long time, because he helped to trace Rizal in Wilhelmsfeld. He became an ardent Rizalist  and was, for almost 25 years host and expert guide for thousands of Philippinos.

Both, Pastor Ullmer and Pastor Weber instantly felt the greatness and importance of Rizal, both were deeply impressed and enthusiastic, and both have, through  their hospitality and enthusiasm, influenced the German-Philippine relations to an  immense degree.

José Rizal was happy here in Wilhelmsfeld, and it is a heritage and obligation for  us to keep the memory for José Rizal alive.

Rizal left this village in the autumn of 1886, but his thoughts and his country-men and women have come back, and so Rizal's stay here is not just a historical date  of the past, but a fact of our present time with strong and vivid relations between the Philippines and Wilhelmsfeld.

In commemoration of Dr. José Rizal we're now laying down the flowers at his statue.


      The Supreme Commander, Sir Vicente Palmon, at his right side Sir Rainer Weber, who is speaking to his guests


In the town-hall of Wilhelmsfeld will be presented soon a permanent exhibition of interesting books and drawings of Dr. José Rizal and some articles of old newspapers telling about his stay in Heidelberg and Wilhelmsfeld in 1886.

The drawings made by Dr.José Rizal in June 1886 show on the upper left side a portrait of Pastor Ullmer - and on the right side his wife ("The housewife") -   down below: Friedrich Ullmerr and Eta Ullmer, the children of Pastor Ullmer 

These drawings by José Rizal show, that he was not only a talented person in languages, medicine and sciences but also in drawing portraits or impressions of the landscape as he made also wonderful drawings during his trip on the Rhine  (after his stay in Heidelberg and Wilhelmsfeld). A book with these paintings will be published soon.

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      Dr. José Rizal in Heidelberg und in Wilhelmsfeld (1886)

       und der Nachruf für Dr. José Rizal von Prof. Virchow:

| Rizal in Heidelberg and in Wilhelmsfeld 1- Knights of Rizal|

| Rizal in Heidelberg and in Wilhelmsfeld 2 |

| Flores de Heidelberg (Engl.-Deutsch) - Gedicht von Dr. José Rizal (1886)|

| Rizal's letters from Heidelberg I | Rizal's letters from Heidelberg II |

| Rizal's letters to Pastor Ullmer and to his family, Wilhelmsf.,1886-88|

| Prof. Virchows Nachruf auf Dr. José Rizal 1897|

| Prof.Virchow (Berlin): Obituary for Dr. José Rizal (1897)|

   Knights of Rizal - Wilhelmsfeld - Heidelberg Chapter

              und der Rizal - Park in Wilhelmsfeld:

| Wilhelmsfeld-Heidelberg Chapter - Vorstand |

| Rizals 141.Geburtstag in Wilhelmsfeld'02

| 25 Jahre Rizal-Park, Wilhelmsfeld, 2003|

|Rizals 146. Geburtstag + 10 Jahre Wilhelmsfeld-Heidelberg Chapter:17.Juni2007|

|50 Jahre Rizal - Beziehungen Phil - Wilhelmsfeld: Die Wilhelmsfeld Story| NEU!NEW!

|50 Years Philippines - Wilhelmsfeld: "The Wilhelmsfeld Story", by Dr.P.Mendez|NEW!!

|Correspondence Dr.Paz Mendez concerning Rizal's stay in Wilhelmsfeld (1959)| NEW!!!

last update April 06,'10                                                                                                                                                     

since Oct. 23,'01