Art and Dr. José Rizal - Episode 3

The impact of Wilhelmsfeld in Germany on Rizal´s novel “Noli me tangere”


In the spring of 1886 Dr. Jose Rizal studied a new surgical method for cataract operations at the Ophthalmology Hospital of the University of Heidelberg. In May of 1886 he moved to the nearby mountain village of Wilhelmsfeld. As a guest of the protestant vicar Karl Ullmer he found the muse and incitement to finish his novel about contemporary issues.


Daily lessons in the German language with the vicar, and living together as part of a family was something Rizal had not experienced in Europe until now.


He wrote to a friend, that he started changing parts of his novel “Noli me tangere“. now.


“I tempered its outburst, softened many phrases, and cut down many things to their just proportions as, seeing them from afar, I gradually acquired a broader vision, and as my imagination cooled down in the midst of the calm characteristic of that people”.


Shown are Letters, drawings, comics and a handsigned dedication to Karl Ullmer of the first printing of the Nolibook giving evidence of the enduring friendship.


(Text by Dr.med. Fritz Hack Ullmer, Heidelberg)

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