Fonds PR3416 - Wolfgang Witschl fonds

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Wolfgang Witschl fonds

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    • Source of title proper: Title based on the provenance of the records.

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    • 1956-1979 (Creation)

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    Physical description

    17 film reels: 8mm [ca. 5 hrs., 20 min.]. - 46 film reels: 16 mm [ca. 2 hrs., 20 min.]. - 361 slides.

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    Name of creator


    Biographical history

    Wolfgang Eduard Franz Josef Witschl was born in Mistelbach, Austria on March 14, 1923 to Josef and Anna (Schubert) Witschl. He was the second of three children, his older sister Marianne Witschl born on September 13, 1908 and younger sister Edeltraud Witschl on January 11, 1927. Wolfgang lived with his family in Mistelbach until he was drafted into the German army at the onset of the Second World War. At some point during the war, he was captured by the Soviets and was held as a prisoner-of-war in Russia. However, Witcschl escaped with two other prisoners and made his way back to Austria. During the ordeal, Witschl contracted frostbite, scurvy, and rickets.

    After the war, Witschl married Gabriele Questl (born February 13, 1916) on December 8, 1945 in Grieskirchen, Austria. Their first child, Wolfgang Manfred Witschl, was born on August 2, 1947 in Wels, Austria.

    Wolfgang worked as a locksmith and truck driver as well as a mechanic for the US army, the occupying force in Austria at the time. Eventually, the Witschl family emigrated from Austria and departed for Canada from Genoa, Italy aboard the Conte Biancamano on June 21, 1952 and arrived at Pier 21 in Halifax on July 1, 1952.

    Upon arrival in Canada, the Witschl family spent six months in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan while Wolfgang worked at Anderson Motors. During this period, the Witschl's second child, Ursula Marqurite, was born on August 16, 1952.

    The Witschl family moved to Edmonton in early 1953. Wolfgang continued his work in the mechanical and maintenance fields and eventually earned certification as a first class gasfitter, second class journeyman gas welder, steamfitter, mechanical drafter, heavy duty mechanic, and plumber. From his arrival in Edmonton until 1963, he worked at Fuller and Knowles, Canadian Kellogg, Brown Boveri Engineers, Casault Engineering, Honeywell Controls, and Johnson Controls. He began working as a control fitter for the Alberta Department of Public Works in September, 1963. He later became a foreman and then supervisor before retiring in 1981 due to health concerns.

    Wolfgang was an avid filmmaker; he was prolific in both 8mm and 16mm colour film and even started his own film company, Woga Foto and Film, in 1973. He filmed the activities of his family as well as prominent community events and would show these films on his trips back to Austria.

    Wolfgang and Gabriele were also avid hunters, fishers, long-standing members of Club Austria in Edmonton, and were active in the Progressive Conservative Party. Wolfgang Witschl died in Edmonton on March 22, 1988.

    Custodial history

    The records were in the possession of Wolfgang Witschl until his death, when they passed into the custody of his daughter, Urusula (Witschl) Stewart.

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists of films and slides that were created by Wolfgang Witschl and document travel, hobbies, family activities, and community events. Activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, road trips, and family celebrations are all captured. Witschl also documented various wildlife in natural settings across Alberta, including bighorn sheep, bears, salmon, elk, moose, and caribou.

    Public events documented by Witschl include Edmonton's Heritage Days and Klondike Days, the closing of the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, marches and parades through Edmonton's downtown, a pageant and powwow to mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of Treaty 6 at Dried Meat Hill (Ka-Ke-Wuk), the christening of Mount Michener (which features Peter Lougheed and Rt. Hon. Daniel Roland Michener), and 1967 centennial celebrations in Edmonton (featuring Lester Pearson and Edmonton mayor Vincent Dantzer).

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    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition

    Urusula (Witschl) Stewart donated the records in 2010 and 2014.


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        The material is in English.

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        Restrictions on access

        Access Conditions: None

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Use Conditions: Permission for use required. Subject to the Copyright Act.

        Finding aids

        File list is available.

        Associated materials

        For contextual information about Club Austria, see the Johann Strauss Foundation fonds (PR0100).

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        Further accruals are not expected.

        General note

        Includes accessions PR2014.1955 and PR2010.0452.

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