Gustav Dentist Zollinger
Written by the nephew of Gustav Dentist Zollinger, Frank Zollinger, Herzogenbuchsee, 2000
Gustav Zollinger was born in Herzogenbuchsee BE on the 21st of May 1897 as the oldest of six children. His father was also a Gustav Zollinger, *1849 and his mother was a Emma Aebi, the second wife of Gustav senior. Gustav junior died in Herzogenbuchsee on the 10th of April 1965 by suicide. From a very young age Gustav was a most unusual child, he was exceptionally intelligent, he was full of self confidence and he had a clear view of the goals he wanted to achieve in his life. He had made the decision to become a medical doctor very early in life, and chose the field of dentistry. He attended primary and secondary schools in Herzogenbuchsee, and then attended the "Gymnasium" in neighboring Burgdorf BE. Afterwards he enrolled in studies in Dentistry at the University of Berne, where he completed his degrees with the highest results. But his difficult and ego-centric character already caused him problems during his time at university, where he alienated a number of his professors. His argumentative and combative behavior was the main reason why he was not allowed to complete his studies there to receive his doctorate. Very early in his life, likely during his early university days, did Gustav also show an affinity for languages, and he soon started to study linguistics as a second study subject of particular interest to him, with a particular focus on the earliest origins of languages. During his life he wrote and self-published numerous books on themes relating to the origin and development of language.
This research activity in turn required traveling, and during the most active part of his life Gustav visited a considerable number of countries in all parts of the world. He in particular spent considerable time in the Near East, especially in Egypt, where he found a particularly fruitful environment to research into the proto-languages found in that region. In his pursuit of language research he also spent much time in the Far East, especially in China, India and Indonesia, as well as in many of the other countries of that region and elsewhere in the world. In order to generate the necessary financial means to support his travel and research activities, he would periodically return to Herzogenbuchsee and carry out his profession as dentist, where he had his own dentistry clinic until as late as 1965 (the year of his death). But for the most part he did not work in his profession, but dedicated himself to linguistic research, where he studied and analyzed a substantial number of modern and ancient languages, many of which he could not only speak fluently, but also read and write. He had a reputation in linguistic circles for his phenomenal ability to learn languages, and he was credited with apparently being fluent in thirty-two languages! In this field his ability was widely recognized as outstanding and unique.
Aside from language research, Gustav also was most interested in his own family history and the origin of the name Zollinger. A substantial part of his time was spent in libraries, archives and museums in many different locations across much of Western Europe, researching and reading countless old documents in search of mention of the name Zollinger. Based on his years of patient genealogy research he wrote and edited numerous documents on the history and background of the Zollinger family, among them obviously this document. As a result of his research on family history there exists among many other documents a substantial hand written volume of the genealogy of the name Zollinger to its origin back in the 5th century in Northern Italy. This document is also remarkable for its hand drawn maps, pictures and charts illustrating the text. All the documentation which Gustav produced is now under the control of Frank Zollinger, Gustav's intellectual heir, who is storing it for safekeeping in a bank vault in Herzogenbuchsee.
All his life Gustav was something of a hermit, outcast and social pariah, who had few friends, he had in particular little connection to women and as a result he never married. He was widely recognized for his exceptional intelligence, but was at the same time often ostracized by society for his difficult character and self-absorbed mentality, his shyness and his reservedness. And in this way Gustav led a most productive life and contributed substantially to the field of linguistics and his genealogy, but given his difficult character traits, on has to wonder how much happiness he was allowed to experience in his life. It is therefore especially important that his exceptional contribution to the Zollinger family are valued and honored.