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Third child ‒ first surviving child ‒ of Johann and Julia Schenker, hence Heinrich Schenker's elder brother, who became a medical doctor. He was married twice, his second wife's first name being Dodi, and had a number of children, perhaps the oldest being Anton [Tonschl]. In the 1910s he lived in Kautzen, where he and his wife cared for Julia Schenker for the last three years of her life (1914–17).

Wilhelm does not appear to be mentioned in Schenker's diary before 1914, when Heinrich comments that Wilhelm is due to take his pension in 1915. Wilhelm ‒ like Moriz, the youngest child ‒ was relatively well-off, and he figures in Schenker's diary as providing money to Julia (OJ 1/15, pp. 677, 679, September 1 and 3, 1914), and in 1918 is involved with funeral and grave-stone arrangements for Julia.

In 1927, Wilhelm was living in Sankt Bernhard, near Horn, 80 km (50 miles) north-east of Vienna, and only 25 km (15 miles) from Waidhofen, where Julia Schenker was buried. Schenker's diary for September 3‒5, when the Schenkers visited him, gives a penetrating portrait of a man who used cheerfulness as a device for avoiding life's difficulties, and who had never fully tapped the "higher resources" that he possessed, a man aloof from his family, even unaware of Schenker's musical interests. He no longer remembers the evening on which we left our father in Lemberg after the burial of our eldest brother [1880] and, returning to our lodging, shook hands and hugged each other – he doesn't remember our brother, not even his death! I recall with horror that hour in which I brought him, when he was a medical student, the sad news that our father had died [late 1887]. To me, a world full of trouble came into being, at any rate a new world; he seemed not to be taking any notice, as if even then he had decided once and for all to take no responsibility upon himself for those who remained, at least as far as his share was concerned. (OJ 3/9, pp. 3109-3110)

The Schenker's visited him again on September 3, 1929, but decided to cut short their visit and left on the 5th.

The children from his first marriage having left home, Wilhelm was looked after in later years by his housekeeper ‒ an arrangement which Heinrich felt to have brought little comfort to his brother on account of his "domineering" personality (something he inherited from their mother).

Correspondence with Heinrich and Jeanette

Eight letters from Wilhelm to Heinrich and his wife Jeanette are known to survive as OJ 14/6 (1930-39) and two as OC 44/38 and A/296 (1934), and 106 letters and postcards from Heinrich to Wilhelm as OJ 5/38. Wilhelm maintained contact with Jeanette after Heinrich's death, his last surviving letter to her being dated June 1, 1939 (OJ 14/6, [8]).


  • private communication from Heribert Esser


  • Ian Bent and Marko Deisinger

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