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Monday, June 14, 2010


The real story of the inauguration of the Blumentritt plaque in Litomerice, 2001

Lino Paras wrote:

“Last week the Supreme Council, Manila, send me to Litomerice, Czech Republic to attend the unveiling of the bust of Professor Ferdinand Blumentritt (friend of Dr. Jose Rizal.)”

I am very well aware about the Litomerice event in 2001. I lived in Belgium at that time. My good friend, Dr. Sir Fritz Hack-Ullmer, great-grandson of Pastor Ullmer who donated the famous Ullmer collection to the Philippines in 1961, informed me personally that he was making arrangements for the inauguration of a plaque in honor of Ferdinand Blumentritt in Litomerice.

The invitation to the inauguration of the Ferdinand Blumentritt Plaque originally came from the Lord Mayor of Litomerice. He asked me if a delegation from Belgium would attend this significant event. As Chapter Commander of the El Filibusterismo Chapter then, I asked some knights from Belgium if they were interested to attend for which the response was positive. Sir Francois Ooms and I drove our car and we picked up Lino Paras from his house at rue de Hippodrome in Brussels. Sir Rudy Nollas, Rev. Apollo, Sir PrOs Slachmuylders and my wife also joined us.

After a nine hour’s trip, we finally reached Leitmeritz and met with the other knights who already arrived from Germany such as: Dr. Sir Fritz Hack, Sir and Mrs. Manfred Holtzmann (ex-mayor of Wilhelmsfeld) AND… Sir Ernsto Blumentritt, (then 90 years old), the only living grandson of Ferdinand Blumentritt.

To think that Lino was sent “officially” by Manila to go to Leitmeritz? Indeed, it’s too easy to say! For without the invitation from the Lord Mayor of Litomerice and me who then extended it to him, he would have had never known of the event and would not even have the opportunity to be there for the special occasion.

If it was true that Lino were sent officially by the HQ, he would have been the one who should have invited us and not the other way around, as it happened isn’t it?

At that time, Lino never told nor mentioned to anybody in the group that he was officially sent by the HQ because he would be only ‘too proud’ to say so in order not to show or reveal any trace of his personal ambition for self-aggrandizement.

What did happen exactly in Leitmeritz? The greetings at the monument were given by the Mayor of Litomerice, Mr. Landa, Sir Ernesto Blumentritt, Libor Pislak, the artist who made the plaque, and Dr. Sir Fritz Hack Ullmer, the main organizer. From the Blumentritt park the party went to the Rizal bust at the rear of the Hotel Salva Guarda.

The program for the speeches had already been planned. All of a sudden, Lino Paras stepped forward and delivered his unscheduled and uncalled for speech, just to make himself so important as Rizal’s countryman. Even better, a team of radio reporters was present and interviewed him. For so obvious a reason as to his very limited knowledge on Rizal's life that he sent them expediently to me to do the explanations about the friendship between Rizal and Blumentritt.

While I was being interviewed Lino seized the opportunity to have Sir Rudy Nollas take his picture while he was greeting H.E. (Ms.) Carmelita R. Salas, Philippine Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Mr. Landa, Mayor of Leitmeritz, and Sir Ernesto Blumentritt. Is this what he had in mind which would later present for his promotion in the KOR as his tangible proof that he had done a ‘research’ in Leitmeritz???

The same happened in Wilhelmsfeld when he was again a passenger in my car. We went the Rizal statue in Wilhelmsfeld and have some pictures. An official report was sent to IHQ Manila by Lino in which he wrote that he performed a “Rizalian research” in Heidelberg (Hm!).

This report can be acknowledged and confirmed by Sir Francois Ooms, Sir PrOs Slachmuylders, Sir Dr. Fritz Hack and Sir Manfred Holtzmann.

P.S. A couple of years ago Lino Paras and his team went again to Leitmeritz. Alcoba wrote that he was very thrilled that have slept in the same room where Rizal did during his stay there.

What a pity for them! As a matter of fact, Rizal did NOT stay in the building that is now the Hotel Salva Guarda. Indeed, there is a Rizal room in this hotel where I also stayed several times, but this was only named in his honor, only to remember his memory! Rizal stayed in another hotel with Maximo Viola in Leitmeritz!

Lucien Spittael