Postmarks from the Simon Wiesenthal Collection

Towns Named Wiesenthal

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Picture post card depicting a Wiesenthal village, a name chosen for meadows and valleys

The name Wiesenthal comes from the German words for meadow (Wiese) and valley (Thal or, in modern German, Tal), so a literal English translation might be Meadow Valley. Because that phrase describes so many places, Wiesenthal is a popular town name in German-speaking regions. In fact, there are even more Wiesenthals and former Wiesenthals than the ones that Simon Wiesenthal collected.

The valley along the Wiese River in Germany is also called "das Wiesenthal," literally, "the Wiese valley." Simon Wiesenthal collected materials from two towns that included the valley in their names, Zell im Wiesental and Hausen im Wiesenthal (now Hausen im Wiesental, without the final h).

Because they are located in valleys, some Wiesenthals are near the bases of mountains. Some of these Wiesenthals were once best-known for refining metal ores. Today, they may depend more on winter sports.