100-Jahrfeier

The 100-year celebration, the first official commemoration in honour of Caesar Ritz took place on the 24th August 1952 in his birth place Niederwald. Unfortunately it took place two years too late, as one could obviously not find a suitable date. Marie-Louise did not receive the invited guests in the grand Ritz by the Seine, but on a goat meadow by the river Rhone in Niederwald.

THE ARRIVAL

From early youth Marie-Louise Ritz was used to receiving the great people of the world. This time round she was the hostess of mountain farmers. Even before Marie-Louise Ritz went into the village with her guests, people were singing in honour to her. The Niederwald traditional costumes mixed with the robes of the others to form a community of cheerful colours. In one of the old wooden houses, which had been burned black by the sun higher up in the village, the home of Caesar Ritz, the widow who had come from Paris welcomed her guests from near and afar. One of the first to arrive was the then Bundesrat (federal council of Switzerland) Dr. J Escher. Around about lunch time the magistrate accompanied the aged hostess carefully down to the village square, where Raclette cheese was served later on. Marie-Louise Ritz was accompanied by her son Charles Ritz, who was also much attached to his fathers home.

THE CELEBRATION

During his speech the council president Franz Wirthner thanked all the present for their visit in Niederwald and for the appraisal of Caesar Ritz. Charles Ritz, who was the manager of the «Ritz» in Paris for many years and a fly fisherman who was world famous, expressed greetings and thanks from the family Ritz to the guests. After his speech the Swiss federal council Escher could not refrain from giving his wishes to the son of Caesar Ritz. At the beginning of the festivities the new village well, which had been sponsored by Marie-Louise Ritz, was inaugurated in the village square. Simultaneously the memorial tablet, which should remind of Caesar Ritz, was also inaugurated. It was first attached to the well, later moved to the council hall, where it can still be seen today.

IMPRESSIONS

Marie-Louise Ritz and her son Charles Ritz were greeted heartily by everyone. Everybody wanted to shake hands with these people who were wealthy but even so had there roots in Niederwald. Alongside Dr. Franz Seiler from the Seiler hotels also Siegfried Bittel, director of the Swiss travel centre, were welcomed. The youths of Niederwald had organized a present for the Ritz family from Paris. They performed a play, which was staged by Sister Marie-Gebhard Arnold. «A Caesar can't remain a cowherd!» A portrait was put up in the village square which should remind of Caesar Ritz.

THE UNFORGETTABLE

On the way to the birth house of Caesar Ritz stories were exchanged and the nostalgic but well preserved village Niederwald gave reason for joy. While visiting the birth house of Caesar Ritz, Charles Ritz was amazed when he saw the year carved into the ceiling. Marie-Louise Ritz enquired after the building of the house and was pleased by the very well preserved stone oven from 1778, which had been built by Caesar Ritz's father, grandfather and two uncles. It was a wonderful day. For once the great people of the world were gathered to take part in the celebration in honour of Caesar Ritz. Hundreds celebrated and took time to try and get to know the family Ritz better. Marie-Louise Ritz who had always been in contact with rich, wealthy and exclusive people, who dwelled in luxury and who had become famous throughout the world due to her husband, remained tied to family and friendship deep inside.

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