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ZILLER Origin of surname


Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name derives from a Gentile or vernacular name.

Ziller is a spelling variant of Schiller, which may have been adopted by some Jews as their family name in honor of the 18th/19th century German poet and playwright Friedrich Schiller whose ideas had a strong influence on European Jewry. According to one view,the name is linked to the biblical S(h)aul. According to another, it could come from the German word Schielen, that is "to squint". This and similar Jewish family names could also have a connection with the Yiddish Shul ("prayer house/synagogue") which is pronounced Schiel/Sheel in some parts of Europe; Schieler/Schiller (as an equivalent of the German Schueler) could therefore be a man studying in the Shul or having a function in its organization. Schill and Schillen are recorded as Jewish family names in 1768 in the French department of Moselle; Schiele, Schielen, Schille, Gilet and Schillas in 1784 in Alsace; Ziller is found in 1808 in Strasbourg in eastern France; Schiller in 1811 at Flatow, Prussia ( now Zlotow in north west Poland). Szylowicz (a Polish spelling variant of the German/Slavic Schilovitz) was Frenchified to Sileau in mid 20th century France Szyller (a Polish form of Schiller) is documented in the 20th century.
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Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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