Sunday, December 23, 2012


As I say from time time in discussing the two Pikholz family groups - one is from Rozdol and one is from Skalat, and we know of no connection between the two.

Except this.

The late Alexander "Sandy" Pickholtz is a descendant of the main Rozdol family, the one we call RavJG. This famiy begins with the original Rozdol couple, Pinchas and Sara Rivka. Their son Israel Joel (1807-82) and his wife Jutte Chana had a son Moshe, probably their eldest. (Another son - probably the youngest - was Rav Juda Gershon, after whom I have named this family.)

Moshe was married to Sara Steg, the daughter of R' Yehudah Zvi Steg, the longtime rav of Skole. They had ten children, the ninth was Meshullam Zisha Pikholz, who died in 1879 at age 23, less than  a month after his twenty-two year old wife Gittel Rachel Tischenkel. Their five year old son died a few months later. Their younger son, Baruch Bendit, was raised by Meshullam Zisha's sister Perl and her husband Shimshon Tanne.

Baruch Bendit and his wife Rose Weinstock went to New York in 1902 with their two eldest children Gittel and Meshullam Zisha. In New York, the children became Gladys and Irving and six more were born.

Irving married New York-born Judith Alexander, who was described to me by family members as a card carrying Communist. They were divorced in 1946. Irving and Judith had a daughter then a son, Alexander born in July 1929. 

Alexander was a student at the University of Denver. The night of 3 January 1950 (15 Teveth 5710 - sixty-three years ago this coming Friday), he and three other students were involved in a truck-car crash in Pittsfield Illinois, near the Missouri border. Alexander and another twenty year old, John Nunan of the Bronx, were killed. I suppose they were heading back to Denver after their winter break.

Alexander was buried at New Montefiore Cemetery in New York.  I imagine his mother wrote the inscription - A STALWART AGAINST FASCISM.

Back in Denver, Sandy had a friend, a fellow student named Lenny Pike. Lenny married a young Denver woman named Nan Francis. Nan (Actually Louanne, but no one called her that) was born in Denver and was the daughter of Phil Francis (Isak Fischel, for you Pikholz afficianadoes). Phil's mother was Sadie Francis (originally Sarah Frankel) and she was married to her cousin Sam Francis.

Sadie/Sarah was the daughter of David Lozel Frankel and Bessie Pickholtz, my great-grandfather's sister. The family had come to Denver years earlier because Sadie's younger brother Jake suffered from tuberculosis . They were involved in the founding of the well-known sanitorium in Denver.
So Nan, Lenny Pike's wife is a Skalat Pikholz descendant. And they gave their second son the middle name Sandy, after Lenny's good friend who had been killed in an accident a few years earlier.

I am told that my third cousin Nan, who died in 2001, did not know her great-grandmother's maiden name, so never realized the additional significance of her son's name. And I guess none of the other Denver cousins ever mentioned it.        
So a Skalat Pikholz descendant is named for a Rozdol Pikholz as the name of Sandy Pickholtz is carried on by the son of his good friend Lenny Pike. But there is one more oddity. I do not have Sandy's death certificate, but here is the online  reference from the State of Illinois database.
Sandy Pickholtz, the twenty year old stalwart against fascism, died in Pittsfield Illinois. In Pike County.


  1. "Pike" is not a Jewish-sounding name. Might the family name of Lenny Pike perhaps possibly could have been Pickholtz, also?

    Eric Mack, Jerusalem

    1. I did wonder about that, Eric, and made some inquiry. Other than a negative result, I don't recall the details of what I found and am too lazy to look it up. It would have been just too perfect.