The “Worst” Last Name: Meet the Hittlers


Meet the Hittler family: Justin, Carly, Paul, and Marie. This Bloomfield family has the last name “Hittler”, spelled with two t’s but pronounced with no difference than the name of the chancellor of Germany during WWII, Adolf Hitler.


According to the “Top Ten Worst Last Names,” the surname “Hitler” is ranked the worst last name anyone can have, topping the list of 265 other unfavorable last names. Among 151,671 different last names recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau, this family holds the last name similar to that of the former Nazi leader.


Junior Justin Hittler has an interesting experience when meeting people for the first time. “When first meeting people, they think I’m joking about my last name.”


His older sister Carly Hittler, BHHS alumnus and freshman at Grand Valley State University, has to explain the small spelling difference between ‘Hittler’ and ‘Hitler’ on a regular basis. “There is no way to audibly discern between the two, so often I say it’s spelled with two t’s when introducing myself. My last name is linked to the large German family I belong to on my dad’s side [of the family].”


Both Carly and Justin recall numerous memories of name-driven torture in both school and athletic environments, dating back to elementary school.


“But some of my very best friends are Jewish and they don’t hold my name against me,” said Carly. “History class was always a little strange, but it’s not like I condone the actions and orders of Hitler.” Carly says she always used to get strange looks when a teacher or substitute calls her name for attendance.


Similarly for Justin, “A lot of people associate me with certain anti-semitic things that may not be true, just because of my last name. Lots of Jewish and Holocaust jokes. Some teachers don’t even know my first name, they just call me ‘Hittler.’ Also, most people I meet for the first time say ‘Oh, wow your last name is…Hitler?’ or something along those lines.”


Justin added, “One time at a ski competition, I was at the top of the hill, waiting to take my turn when the announcer said ‘What’s your first and last name?’ When I said Justin Hittler, the whole crowd went silent.”


Carly, a competitive equestrian, regularly experiences that out-of-place feeling from audiences.


“I vividly remember being at a local horse show where the announcer stumbled over my name and my coach retaliated, ‘It’s pronounced Hittler.’ At another show entirely the announcer didn’t even say my name,” she said.


In the classroom or in the places where they express their athletic abilities, the connection of their family name to the “most hated man in history” is something they simply can’t shake off.


Social media is a common place of misjudgement and stereotypes for the Hittler kids. “There are lots of stereotypes proposed when people see my username and come across my profile,” said Justin. “People who don’t know me but just know my name will jump to conclusions.”


“It took me a long time to let go of most of my anger about how poorly some people treated me, and even now I still get fired up thinking about it,” said Carly.


“As for the future,” Justin said, “I would change my last name for my kids so they won’t have to tolerate any bullying like my sister went through during her childhood. In this time and age of stereotypes, names can associate people with unnecessary things. If someone is less comfortable with who they are because of their name, it may be necessary to change it.”


Although the Hittler students have to endure the constant discomfort of their last name, they stated that they remain strong and have learned to combat any prejudice with humor. After all, what’s in a name anyway?