Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


A Schultz By Any Other Spelling

Know your German surnames

Print Email
Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the beginning of this year.(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Writing about Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whom President Obama named the head of the Democratic National Committee, is a copy editor’s nightmare: There are so many different ways to spell that surname! And, as with most German Jewish names, there is the confusion as to whether the name’s owners are Deutschen or landsleit. Forthwith, a taxonomy:

Schultz: This is the spelling that gets by far the most Google hits (over 40 million), so it should be your default; its most famous adherent is probably Howard Schultz, the Starbucks honcho. It is derived from the German Schultheiss, a title that was essentially the equivalent of “mayor” in medieval Germany. So there were probably not too many Jewish ones of these, and indeed there are many non-Jewish Schultzes. Then again, Howard is Jewish, and so is Debbie, and it certainly is not strange to have a Jewish Schultz.

Schulz: This gets the second-most Google hits. It also connoted an official of some kind—it’s the German equivalent of the English surname Constable—and many Schulzes, including the most famous (Charles, of Peanuts), are not Jewish. But some are: The Polish novelist Bruno Schulz was killed in the Holocaust.

Shultz: This gets scarcely over four million Google hits (i.e., not many). At this point, unless you are going for Reagan-era Secretary of State George P. (who was not Jewish), you are probably misspelling one of the two above.

Shulz: Not even 500,000 Google hits. This is probably most useful if you are trying to do Yiddishkeit hip-hop, as in the lyric, “Got more shoes than Brooklyn’s got shulz,” which I just made up.

Bottom line: If you are writing this surname, you almost certainly want that c following the S. Of course, Debbie Wasserman Schultz was born Debbie Wasserman—Wasserman being another one of those could-go-either-way German surnames (although it tends to go the Jewish way more often than Schul(t)z). And let’s not get started on Wasserman vs. Wassermann … .

Earlier: Wasserman Schultz to Run D.N.C.

Print Email

You’ve barely scratched the surface. Schulze gets nearly 16 million hits on Google; Scholz and Schulte, over 10 million; Schultze, nearly 4 million…

Harriet J. Brown says:

What about Ed Schultz?

hello!,I really like your writing so a lot! share we keep in touch more approximately your post on AOL? I require an expert in this house to resolve my problem. May be that’s you! Having a look forward to see you.

Anways, i do love doing business with your organization. Your online layout is amazingly easy in the eye. You have a very good great place to shop. I genuinely enjoyed navigating along with ordering out of your site. It is extremely, very easy to use and user-friendly and uncomplicated. Great job for a fabulous webpage.

T. Scholtz says:

Scholtz checking in – German, for the record.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

A Schultz By Any Other Spelling

Know your German surnames

More on Tablet:

Klinghoffer at the Met

By Paul Berman — John Adams’s masterpiece is about an American Jew murdered by Palestinian terrorists, but the real opera is off stage