Sunday, November 25, 2012


Salomon Mensz
יהודית מנש בנארי, ממשפחת פיקהולץ מרוזדול

Twelve and a half years ago, I found a Page of Testimony for Salomon Shemuel (Klar) Mensz of Lwow, born 1865. The Page was submitted by his daughter Yehudit Mensz Benari of Petah Tiqva, in 1957. Salomon's wife was identified as Sara Rivka Pickholz, age 77.

Sara Rivka Pickholz Mensz

I pressed the link for other pages submitted by the same person (complicated by the fact that sometimes Yehudit's name was transcribed "Benari" and sometimes "Ben Ari) and found the Page for Sara Rivka, which did not mention her maiden name Pickholz.

It did tell us that she had been born in Rozdol in 1864 and that her parents were Aharon and Gittel. Sara Rivka is, as I have mentioned before, the name of the matriarch of the Rozdol Pikholz families and the dates are such that this new Sara Rivka could have been a granddaughter, but was more likely a great-granddaughter.

Although we have the Rozdol birth records for that period, I do not see a birth record for Sara Rivka. Nor do I see any other references to her parents Aron and Gittel or to any brothers and sisters she may have had.

The Page also said that Sara Rivka had five children and Yehudit submitted Pages of Testimony for the other four - Arnold (Aron) and his wife Ella, Jetty Roza/Rachel and her husband Natan Lew, Marek (Mordecai) and his wife Sara and Pawel (Pinchas). She also submitted a page for an undefined cousin, Fanka Pikholz-Kranter, who had been born about 1900, supposedly in Lwow, though I have not found a birth record in Lwow or anywhere else.

I continued to search the Yad Vashem website and found that additional pages had been submitted in 1997 by Uriella Eran, apparently Yehudit's daughter. (Here too, many of the Pages had been transcribed as Ariella, which complicated the search.) I located Uriella and her husband in a retirement home and went to see them. Her brother Amos and his wife joined us.

None of them had ever heard the name Pickholz and they could not tell me anything about Sara Rivka's family, neither her parents nor her siblings (if she had any).

Uriella told me that she had a younger brother Rafi who had been killed the day before Pesach 1948, in the War of Independence at age twenty-one. Rafi is buried in Kiryat Anavim, near Jerusalem.

Yehudit died 11 Kislev 5732 and I am posting this exactly forty years later. She is buried on Kibbutz Ein Harod, where she had lived for most of her adult life.

It turns out that one of the three sons of Yehudit's eldest brother Arnold survived the Holocaust and he has three children living in Poland.

In the meantime, I have acquired the birth records for all five of Sara Rivka's children. They were all born in Lwow, which is good, because Lwow birth records list not just the mother's parents, but also the mother's mother's maiden name.
28 July 1901 birth record from Lwow - Josefa, daughter of Salomon Mensch and Sara (Sali) Pikholz
Here is the birth record for Yehudit, using her birth name Josefa. Her children did not know that given name, but did know that she was sometimes called Pepi, which can be a nickname for Josefa. Her mother is Sara Pikholz, daughter of Gittel Pikholz and the late Aron Kranter. No mention of Rozdol.

The birth record for Aron (Arnold) from 1890 lists his mother as Sara Kranter, daughter of Aron Kranter and Gittel Kranter of Rozdol.

The birth record for Jetty Roza (Jente Rachel) from 1892 shows Sara Kranter, daughter of Aron Kranter and Gittel Pickholz of Rozdol.

The birth record for Marek from 1894 says "Sara Krater (Grater)" daughter of Aron Krater (Grater) of Rozdol and Gittel Pikholz.

Finally, the birth for the youngest brother Pawel from 1904 says Sara Kranter, daughter of Aron Kranter of Rozdol and Gittel Pikholz.

So despite the variations in the records, we know that Sara Rivka's parents are Aron Kranter and Gittel Pikholz. Fanka, the undefined cousin whom I mentioned above seems to be a niece of Sara Rivka, as she uses both of those surnames.

This is the only Rozdol family where the top couple is a Pikholz woman and a non-Pikholz man. It is clear from the names that they are descendants of the known couple Pinchas and Sara Rivka, but how they might be connected is anyone's guess. We may never know.

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Housekeeping announcements:
I am scheduled to speak for the Israel Genealogical Society on 20 December in Raanana and 9 January in Haifa, both in Hebrew. The topic will be:
Check times and addresses at

We are working on a December date for a Jerusalem talk on:
Details to follow.


  1. I believe I am a descendant of the Sara Rifka and Pinchas of Rozla Pikholz. I am the great granddaughter of Gittel Bikholz, whose father, Moses Pikholz is a grandson. Gittel married Aron Laches (Lax, Laks) in Lvov, Poland, in 1906, had two children, then came to Philadelphia, PA, US in 1913, where they had 3 more children, and finally in Los Angeles, CA where my mother, Evelyne Lax, was born (1927). I just learned of the Bikholz connection Tues, Dec. 18, 2012, and was delighted to find this sight through Mocavo. I will be following and checking back to learn of my ancestors. I am so excited to be a part of this huge and wonderful family. My grandfather Aaron Lax was a cantor, and his son, Benjamin Lax, was a prominent Judaic leader in Los Angeles. I am closely in touch with his daughter, Karen Lax Richter. If you would like, I can email you privately and send the family tree so far as I know it.

    1. WOW. I have a list of maybe fifteen things to do today and you have just jumped to the top.

      Gittel married Jacob Lax and Aaron was one of their three children. All I have on Aaron is his birth record. for his brother I have a marriage record and for the younger sister I have the marriage and two births.

      But I have a reference to your grandfather in Los Angeles, which I have been trying to figure out for more than five years.

      I see you also sent me an email, so I'll continue responding there. Welcome to the family