Sunday, May 6, 2012


A week ago, after Shabbat, I saw a notice of the death of Michal Esther Gispan. She was not yet fifty-four. Michal left a husband, four sons (19-29), a daughter in sixth grade, parents, a sister and a brother. She lived not far from us, but we had never met. But I know her father, a retired professor at the Hebrew University. And I am sure that I crossed paths with her husband when we were both in Yeroham thirty-six years ago.

I went over to the house Monday morning. There have been mourning signs all around the neighborhood all week, even more than for Prof. Benzion Netanyahu, who lived two blocks away.

Years ago, when I was making my first inventory of Pikholz descendants, I came across a Henrik Pickholz buried in Tel-Aviv. He had died in 1983 at age seventy-one. According to his tombstone, his father was Moshe - we have many of those. I was able to determine that Henrik had two daughters living abroad, but they were not cooperative and I learned nothing more from them. I was told by his ex-wife that his brothers and sisters had all been killed, but she knew no names or anything.

When I first searched the old Bad Arolsen microfilms at Yad Vashem, I found a card for Henrik, with a Budapest address. It listed his mother as Erzsebet Rosenberg. Nothing else and no cards for other family members.

A few years later, I commissioned a researcher in Budapest to see what he could find. He came  back with this:

Dear Israel,
I said 9 children of Mozes Pikholz and Erzsebet / Lifsche Kornberg in my last message. I must correct myself: just 7 children:
Stefania / Sarah Rivka, 1898 August 24.
Viola Frida / Feige, 1900. August 12.
Hermina / Mirl, 1902. September 5.
Arpad / Avraham, 1904. December 31.
Etelka Szerena / Etl, 1907. July 2.
Irma / Fradel, 1909. February 4.
Henrik / Chayyim, 1911. September 6.
I found the marriage of Mozes and Erzsebet in the civil register.
They married at the sate authorities, just 1908. January 19., so ten years after their first child birth. The record said:
Mozes Pikholz was born 1870. February 2., his parents: Taube Pikholz (just one name, and it seen at place for the fathers)
Lifsche Kornberg was born 1867. May 30., her parents: Chayyim Kornberg, and Sarah Rivka Stein. They died already before the marriage.
I recognized the 2 February 1870 birth date from a set of records we had acquired earlier so I could easily place Henrik and his family into the overall Pikholz structure. From other sources, I found that the two older sisters had sons soon after WWI, but I have made no further progress with this family.

The researcher also had something else.

Also found children of Izsak / Yitzhak Tallenberg-Pikholz and Feige Meles-Silber.
(I writing Tallenberg-Pikholz, because the records also mentioned him as "Tallenberg other Pickholz" named.
Dezso / Shmuel, 1905. December 18.
Matild / Motl, 1907. April 16.
Aranka / Golda, 1908. July 4.
As the records, Izsak Tallenberg-Pikholz was born in Boryslaw, Galicia, and Feige Meles was born in Horodenka, Galicia. They lived Budapest VII. (Seventh district or ward), Dob u. 69.
As the civil birth record of Dezso, Izsak was born around 1877, and Feige around 1882. This record shown their marriage 1905. December 26 in Budapest, but I did not found it. Also this civil record corrected the mother name: Gitel Feige Silber, instead of Feige Meles.
The Boryslaw birth records for 1877 are missing but I was quite sure that the parents of Yitzhak were David Samuel Pikholz of Rozdol and Sara Thalenberg of Boryslaw, thus accounting for the two surnames he used.

So Yitzhak had three children, born in Budapest nearly a hundred years ago. Knowing nothing of any of that family, I assumed that this was another trail that was to lead nowhere, as with so many from that period in Europe.  I added them to the family website and that was the end of that.

Fourteen months later, I received this:

Dear Sir,

My name is Mordechai Kremer and I am the grandson of Yicchak Tallenberg and (Gitel) Feige Silber (or Schuchner, not Meles). I read your internet site with great interest and in the following I would like to supply you with some additional information concerning our branch of the family.

Yicchak Tallenberg died in Budapest in 1941 after a long illness (27 Elul Tav-Shin-Aleph).Feige Tallenberg (Silber) was born in 1983 in Horodenka, Galicia and passed away in Jerusalem in 1970 (2 Tammuz, Tav-Shin-Lamed).
They had 3 children: (1) Dezso (David Shmuel), (2) Matild (Matl) and (3) Aranka (Golda). On the family tree they appear as the 5-th generation.

Data on the 5-th generation:

1. Dr. Dezso (Shmuel David) Tallenberg was born in 1905 in Budapest. He studied and practiced medicine in Prague. He joined the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War and fell there in 1938 as a doctor on the front. After the war, he was given the highest military order "in memoriam" by the Czechoslovak Republic. The family issued a memorial volume in his honour, which is available upon request. Dr. Tallenberg was married to Vlasta Gruenhut (1906-1984) in Prague. The couple had no children.
2. Matild (Matl) Tallenberg was born in 1907 in Budapest died in Jerusalem in 1989 (17 Tishri Tav-Shin-Nun). She was married to Henrik Kremer (born in 1900 in Budapest and died in 1998 in Jerusalem, 12 Tammuz Tav-Shin-Nun-Chet.) They have one son Kremer (Laszlo) Mordechai.
3. Aranka (Golda) Tallenberg was born in 1908 in Budapest. She married Imre Engel (born in 1902 in Budapest and died in 1945 in the Shoah). They have one son Engel (Pal) Zvi. Golda Tallenberg lives now in an old age home in Jerusalem.
This kind of thing happens from time time - that's one reason for laying it out on the Internet - but the thrill of it never gets old.Yitzhak had died in 1941 of an illness, but his wife and daughters came here to Jerusalem and Golda was still living at age ninety-seven! And Deszo - who carried the ancestral name David Samuel - was a physician who served in the Spanish Civil War. And there were additional generations, beginning with Mordechai's daughter Michal Gispan and her five children.

In addition to the booklet that the family prepared in memory of Deszo, Mordechai wrote up his own experiences growing up in Budapest, the war years, making aliyah and the years leading up to his marriage to US-born Ruth. He showed me both of these when we met, soon after his first making contact. Each story was its own kind of heroics.

Later I met with his aunt, Golda Engel, who lived into her 102nd year. Born in Budapest, lost her husband, but survived and eventually died in Jerusalem.

So now I have met Michal's family, here in Jerusalem. We will try to maintain contact, perhaps as soon as the unveiling in a few weeks in the Yemenite section on Har HaMenuhot. Before then, I will be in touch with Mordechai to make sure I have names and dates any spouses and grandchildren.

A generation passes and another emerges. It is that much harder when it is not in the natural order.

It is not always easy to turn the dry data into flesh and blood - I certainly struggle to do so here - but I'll try my best.
AM YISRAEL HAI.  עם ישראל חי.                         


  1. More up to date info on the children of Moses and Lifsche

    Henrik marries Anna Singer 1934
    Viola marries Dezso Roth 1920
    Melania marries Istvan Deckner 1928
    Irma marries Zoltan Farkas 1932
    Arpad marries Maria Schwartz 1931
    Roy in Budapest (

    1. I just saw these, Roy. Replies that come in under the name "Anonymous" are automatically deleted as spam.

      You included your email, so I'll answer these three here and we can continue by regular email, if you don't mind.

      I have a couple of later wives for Henrik, but not Anna Singer. He has two daughters (b. 1946 & 1947), last I knew in Belgium. I had some contact with one about a dozen years ago, but nothing since.

      I have full marriage dates for the other four, though I don't see notes saying where I found them.

      The marriage record for Melania (I have Melanie) but the birth record says Hermina with the Jewish name Mirl.

      I have a son Erno (b. 1921) to Viola, married to Olga Kurz. No children for any of the others.

  2. Deaths
    Farkas Zoltánné Pickholz Irma,1909 -1935 Kozma utca Jewish cemetery Budapest block 38B, row 53, grave 22
    Dekner Istvánné Pikholz Amália(?) 1902- 1990 Kozma utca Jewish cemetery Budapest block 24B, row 39, grave 16
    Sara Rebecka Stefania Pikholz (dtr of 31 year old Jewish Erzsebet(?) Koruberg died 24 August 1898 (the day she was born)
    No burial info, but easier to find Pi(c)kholz than Kohns

    1. Where is this from? Are there dates for the husbands? Can we get grave photographs?

      Melanie/Amalia lived until 1990??!! Who knew! Can we find out if there are descendants, living or dead?

      Stefania (Sara Rivka) aka Sarolta married Jeno Marton 25 March 1919 in Budapest and they had a son Bela in December 1919. I have found a trace of a Bela Marton here in Israel, but the family has not responded to my inquiries, so I have no idea if this is the same person.

  3. Correction.
    Mistook Budapest birth entry for a death. The record I passed on for Sara was her birth date not her death. Sorry for that.
    Other data (to compensate)
    Pikholz Mózes in 1900 occupation: kőnyomdász (engraver?) - Address: Budapest VI. Szerecsen-u. 5.
    State files show Henrik has a brush with the law in 1938 (fraud) and is living at a separate address from his wife Anna nee Singer in 1945.

  4. This Mozes should be the father of all the above.

    I have a note from a conversation with one of Henrik's later wives that there was an unmarried sister who died in Budapest in the 1980s. This may be Etel who was born 1907.

    I just saw some kind of criminal case against Henrik in 1954. Apparently he led a colorful life.

    Henrik may not have been married to Anna by 1945, as I have the mother of the two daughters as Eva Hirsch.

    Can you show me where all this information came from and how you happen to be telling me about it now - nearly a year after my post. (My email address appears at the top of the page.)

    Thank you!