FAMOUS WEST PALATINATE PEOPLE

The West Palatinate have diverse talents and some have become known beyond our region. We present you some outstanding athletes, scientists and entrepreneurs.

Fritz Walter

Fritz Walter

Fritz Walter won the World Cup title as captain in 1954 and went down in history as part of the "Wonder of Bern". Fritz Walter, who scored 33 goals in a total of 61 international matches, is still one of the best-known athletes in Germany and a hero for the supporters of his home club - the FCK.
Horst Eckel

Horst Eckel

Horst Eckel is a former German football player and, like Fritz Walter, was part of the DFB team that secured the world championship title in 1954 and went down in history as the "Wonder of Bern". In the course of his career, he can look back on a total of 32 international appearances. He was awarded the Silver Laurel Leaf twice for this sporting achievement.
Udo Bölts

Udo Bölts

Udo Bölts is a former German cyclist who won the German road championship title three times. Born in 1966 in Heltersberg, he began his career with Team Telekom in 1989 and, after completing his active career, switched to Team Gerolsteiner as sporting director in 2003. Even today he is one of the most successful road drivers in Germany.
Miroslav Klose

Miroslav Klose

Miro Klose is one of the most famous West Palatinate in the world. The former German national soccer player, who grew up in Kusel, went down in history as the most successful scorer of the DFB team and as the sole World Cup record shooter. The thoroughbred striker started his professional career on the Betzenberg with the local FCK.
Georg Michael Pfaff

Georg Michael Pfaff

Michael Pfaff was born in Kaiserslautern in 1823. The trained brass instrument maker achieved by founding the sewing machine factory "G. M. Pfaff" fame. Inspired by the invention of the sewing machine in the USA, he began designing his own machine in the late 1850s and went down in history as a sewing machine pioneer. Until his death in 1893, he laid the foundation stone for one of the most important companies in the region.
Georg von Neumayer

Georg von Neumayer

Georg von Neumayer, born in Kirchheimbolanden in 1826, is one of the most famous scientists in Germany. After studying engineering, physics and astronomy in Munich, he left Germany to explore the southern latitudes. In 1864, he returned to his home country to publish his observation results and turn to southern polar research.
Karl Mildenberger

Karl Mildenberger

Karl Mildenberger, born in Kaiserslautern in 1937, was a German boxer and multiple European boxing champion. In the course of his ten-year professional career, he played around 62 fights, of which he emerged as the winner of 53. However, "Milde" became world-famous through its defeat against Muhammad Ali in the 1966 World Cup - also known as "Mildeberger's greatest victory".
Hans-Peter Briegel

Hans-Peter Briegel

The footballer, born in Kaiserslautern in 1955, was one of the most famous German players of the 1980s. Due to his athletic stature and untamed forward drive, the former athlete was known as the "Walz from the Palatinate". He played 240 games for 1. FC Kaiserslautern and 72 international matches. In his career he was among others Germany's soccer player of the year, European champion, vice world champion and Italian champion as well as cup winner.
Mark Forster

Mark Forster

The lively, cheerful character Mark Forster is best known to the younger generation. The singer, who was born in Kaiserslautern in 1984 and grew up in Winnweiler, has made a name for himself in the music scene in recent years. In 2016 he was named the most successful German-speaking musician. He is now also known as a coach at "The Voice of Germany".
Massiv

Massiv

"Massiv", born in 1982 as Wasim Taha in Pirmasens, is a German gangsta rapper who made a big breakthrough in the German rap scene in 2007 with the song "Wenn der Mond in mein Ghetto kracht". The goal of the rapper of Palestinian descent is to be a role model for his young fans. To this end, the musician has decided not to use any swear words in his lyrics.
Stefanie Giesinger

Stefanie Giesinger

The German model Stefanie Giesinger was born in Kaiserslautern in 1996 and gained worldwide renown through Heidi Klum's show Germany’s Next Top Model and her first contract with the OneEins label. The daughter of Russian-German repatriates from Siberia represents the L’Oreal brand and has already graced the cover of German Cosmopolitan.
Zedd

Zedd

Anton Zaslavski - alias Zedd - born in Russia in 1989 and raised in Dansenberg - is a music producer and DJ. One of his greatest successes is his debut album "Clarity", which will be released in 2012. In the same year the Rhineland-Palatinate musician moved to the USA and since then can look back on collaborations with well-known musicians such as Ariana Grande, Justin Biber, Nicki Minaj and Selena Gomez.
Markus Merk

Markus Merk

Dr. Markus Merk was one of the most famous German soccer referees. Between 1988 and 2018 he directed 339 Bundesliga games and numerous international games. For this assignment, the former dentist, born in Kaiserslautern in 1962, was awarded several times as a DFB referee and world referee of the year. In 2005 he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit for his merits in sports and his social commitment.
Miriam Welte

Miriam Welte

Miriam Welte is a German track cyclist, multiple world champion and Olympic champion of 1. FC Kaiserslautern. The West Palatinate, who was born in Kaiserslautern in 1986 and lives in Otterbach, fell victim to cycling in 2001. For years, the athlete, who worked as a police commissioner, has been a reliable figure in German track cycling.
Nadine Keßler

Nadine Keßler

Nadine Keßler is a former German soccer player who has won several German championship titles and Champions League victories over the course of her career. Born in Landstuhl in 1988, she also became European football champion in 2013. Shortly after her career highlight - the election to the world player of the year 2014 - she had to end her career due to an injury.
Raphael Holzdeppe

Raphael Holzdeppe

Raphael Holzdeppe, born in Kaiserslautern in 1989, won the gold medal in pole vault in 2013 and thus a world champion title. In 2008, the former sports soldier of the Bundeswehr sports promotion group Neubiberg set a junior world record with a jump height of 5.80 m, which was not exceeded until 2017.
Richard Lutz

Richard Lutz

Dr. Richard Lutz is CEO of Deutsche Bahn AG. As a son of a family of railway workers born in Landstuhl, he received his doctorate in 1998 from the University of Kaiserslautern. In addition, since 1994 he has held various leading positions at Deutsche Bahn AG, where he was elected CEO in 2017.
Axel Weber

Axel Weber

Prof. Dr. Axel A. Weber is a German economist, professor and bank manager as well as a member of the international group "The Group of Thirty". As President of the Deutsche Bundesbank and a member of the Governing Council (from 2004-2011), the Palatinate, born in 1957 in Kusel, played an important role in the banking and financial crisis as well as in the euro crisis.
Ludwig von Gienanth

Ludwig von Gienanth

Born as Johann Ludwig Michael Gienanth in Hochstein near Winnweiler in 1767, he initially managed ironworks above the Rhine and in Switzerland. In 1793, after the death of his father, Ludwig Gienanth returned to West Palatinate to take over his father's ironworks. With the acquisition of the plant in Eisenberg and thus the expansion of the company, he became the largest employer in the West Palatinate at that time. In 1817, he was raised to the peerage and could now call himself Ludwig von Gienanth. He gradually handed over the continuation of the ironworks at several locations in the West Palatinate to his descendants, who still live in the region today.
Gustav Rheinberger

Gustav Rheinberger

Gustav Rheinberger was a German entrepreneur born in Primasens in 1889. In 1918, the son of a shoe manufacturer took over his father's business, which under his management became Germany's largest shoe factory with a worldwide reputation. But it was not only his economic successes that made the Palatine shoe manufacturer famous; in 1954 he was awarded the Grand Cross of Merit of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his social commitment. The Rheinberger Foundation named after him still supports many projects in the areas of social welfare, sports and culture in the Pirmasens and Kronberg areas.
Hugo Ball

Hugo Ball

Born in Pirmasens in 1886, Hugo Ball was a 20th-century playwright and author, as well as a founding member of the "Cabaret Voltaire", which opened in Zurich in 1916. It is considered the origin of Dadaism, or Dada for short - a revolt against conventional art forms and the values and ideals of the society of the time, which were considered mendacious.
Paul Münch

Paul Münch

Paul Münch, who was born in Ruchheim near Ludwigshafen in 1879, lived in Kaiserslautern for a long time. The well-known dialect poet published his work "Pälzisch Weltgeschicht" as early as 1909, which sold over 9,000 copies within a very short time. With his works, especially the poem "Mer Pälzer un die Weltachs", Münch is immortalized to this day in Waldleiningen by a survey point in the Palatinate Forest that has been reinterpreted as the Weltachs.
Karl Albrecht von Ritter

Karl Albrecht von Ritter

Karl Albrecht Ritter was born in Kaiserslautern in 1836. In his position as a forestry official, Ritter became the founding chairman of the Palatinate Forest Association in 1903. Five years later, under his chairmanship, the association began to erect the Ritter stones, named after him from 1912 on, at prominent locations in the Palatinate Forest. To date, more than 300 Ritter stones can be found at historically or natural history relevant locations in the region.
Heinrich Bürkel

Heinrich Bürkel

Heinrich Bürkel, born in Pirmasens in 1802, was a painter of the Biedermeier period. During his training in Munich, he quickly specialized in the depiction of landscapes and later became an important member of the Munich Art Association. The high point of his career was his two participations in the world exhibitions in London in 1862 and in Paris in 1867. Today, many of his works can be found in a permanent exhibition in the Forum Alte Post in Pirmasens, which is considered the largest coherent collection of his works.
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