In March 1994 Intel sent me on a business trip to Hanover and Munich to cover the CeBit electronic show. While I was in Munich reducing the data taken at the show, I called all the Wiltschkos in the Munich telephone book. There were about 13 of them, and most of the numbers did not answer, but these few calls gave our family more information about our name than we had ever had before. Our branch of Wiltschkos is ethnically more Scandinavian than German or Ukranian, but we like our name and we like the way it is spelled. What follows is the edited text of a letter I sent to other family members after the Munich phone calls, updated with information we have learned since.
Bill Wiltschko, 9/1/96
I waited until the last moment, but I did manage to call every Wiltschko in the Munich phone book. I tried Johann first, listed as a psychiatrist, because I thought it likely that he spoke English well. Alas, I only got an answering machine.
Next I tried Christian. I got his wife, who had just arrived home. She barely spoke English, but did manage to say that she thought our name came from Slovakia. She recognized "Intel" and said that her husband also worked in computers. Her husband was due in an hour, and she said she would call back in 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
I tried Alfred next. He spoke no English, so I had to resurrect my high school and college German, the latter of which I nearly flunked. He was very emphatic that our name came from Kiev, Ukraine. He further stated that his ancestors then moved to Hungary, then to Czechoslovakia, and only recently to Munich - for him, 1949. I thanked him and called Ingrid, who said that our name came from Russia, but she didn't know from where in Russia.
Siegfried W. spoke the best English of all. He is a bus driver for a local tour company, Overbayern, I think it is spelled, which is supposed to be the largest tour company in Munich. He said that most of the Wiltschkos came most immediately from Voeretz (the "oe" is "o" with an umlaut) in the Czech Republic, only 30 km from Passau, the nearest large city in Germany. Passau is east of Munich, right on the border with Austria. Voeretz is a small town, but it is near Krummau (now named Cesky Krumlov, or Krumlov for short), a larger Czech town. Passau is about 100 km from Munich, and Vienna is another 200 km further east. Siegfried thought that the Wiltschko name originally came from Poland, and said something I didn't understand about the Sudetenland.
Then Christian's wife called back to say that her husband had not arrived yet. But as we spoke, he did arrive. These people were VERY friendly. He works for Muenchen Verein, an insurance company, as a programmer. He studied "economic engineering" in school (I don't know either). He was born in Passau, and said the Bayerische Walt was his "heimat" or home turf. He also said Krummau in Czechoslovakia was a relatively recent origin of his family. He and his wife are 35-36 years old and have no children. I asked him what the "Wiltschko" name meant, and he said that a professor (I think) told him that it meant "little wolf". We both expressed regret that I had not called sooner and they wanted to know when I'd be back (I'd like to know too). His address is:
Gaisberg Strasse 14
81675 Muenchen, Deutschland
We knew there were Wiltschkos in Vienna because a paper written by a pair of ornithologists was mentioned in Science News several years ago.
I once asked a European on a ski lift where "Wiltschko" came from and she suggested that perhaps "Budisheen" (phonetic) in East Germany was the origin. I have since found the town, called "Budysin" in pre-World War II times and Bautzen currently. I first saw mention of this town in the December 1996 issue of the Atlantic Monthly starting with page 86. This article says that Bautzen was the cultural capital of the Sorbian (not Serbian, although it is sometimes spelled that way) people, a people of slavic origin. However, there is little left of Sorbian culture there, despite subsidies by the old East German regime to support it.
Yet more mysteries...
William R. Wiltschko
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