Sunday, July 13, 2014

It's Never Too Late

Last Thursday, the twelfth of Tammuz, was the eleventh yahrzeit of Professor Beatrice Riss Taft, the daughter of Josef Riss-Pickholz and Franziska (Freida Beila) Gottesman. Beatrice Riss Taft was born in Vienna in 1919 and is buried in Haifa.

Her father, Josef, changed his name from Pickholz to Riss about the time that Beatrice was born. His parents were Breine (sometimes Brane) Riss and Abraham Ahron Riss (1842-1933). (I'm not certain, but they both seem to have been Riss.) We do not know when Breine died, but we assume it was before the family came to Vienna. She must have been fairly young as there are grandaughters named after her in 1888 and 1889.

Josef died in 1938 and is buried in the same grave as his father. Franziska was killed in Auschwitz and her name was inscribed on Josef's tombstone after the war.

Breine and Abraham Ahron had seven children altogether during the period 1860-1882 and from one of the births we learn that Breine's parents are Rifka Pikholz and Gabriel Riss. We know of no other children for Ryfka and Gabriel and we can only guess at Ryfka's parents. (I have no idea!)

The seven children of Abraham Ahron and Breine are:
  • Wilhelm (Gabriel Wolf) ~1860-1925, lived in Vienna. He had two daughters, one killed in the Shoah and one who lived in Bolivia. (We cannot find the four Pikholz graves in Cochabamba).
  •  Rivka (1862-1919) married David Gottleib and had five daughters. Two died in childhood. Two of the other three married but had no children and one had a daughter we know nothing about.
  • Isidore died in 1937 and his wife was killed in the Shoah. We have been in intermittent contact with one child of each of their two sons, one in Germany and one in England.
  • Deborah (b. 1874) was deported from Thereisenstadt. She was married twice and had no children.
  • Moses married the daughter of his brother Wilhelm. They had two children and no grandchildren.
  • Josef had a son Egon and Beatrice. Egon's widow is largely responsible for the work on this branch of the family.
  • Rosche lived in Chicago and San Francisco and had a daughter from each of two husbands. She adopted the three children of the second husband from his first marriage. I believe the youngest daughter is still living, but she has not responded to my attempts at contact.
But our star today is Beatrice, who married her childhood sweetheart, Markus Taft, in 1986 at age 67 in Indianapolis.

The event and their story are commemorated in this article from the Indianapolis News from July 18 1986. My thanks to the Indianapolis Star for their permission to reproduce this article here. (Click on the article to see it larger.)

Housekeeping notes
In case anyone was wondering why I missed the last three weeks, my computer crashed and it took three weeks to recover the data. (Thanks to my wife's brother for the recovery.) I was able to work on my laptop, but I was too discombobulated to blog.

I leave for the US today (Sunday) and will be in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Salt Lake City, returning home after three weeks. Pittsburgh is the GRIPitt course in Practical Genetic Genealogy and Salt Lake City is the IAJGS Conference on Jewish Genealogy.

I would like to think that I will keep the blog going during the time I am away.

The folks on the Conference Committee advise: 
July 25 - last day to register for IAJGS LIVE! if you want your access code in time to view all LIVE! conference programming as it is presented (whether you register for LIVE! by this date or later you will be able to enjoy 60 of the best conference programs whenever you like and as many times as you like until October 31, 2014). 

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful story! Except for the bit about Bruno Bettelheim being her mentor. I do not at all admire his work on autism. He developed a terrible theory that autism was the result of having a cold mother. This became known as the "refrigerator mom" theory and had absolutely no scientific basis. It just made mothers feel bad.

    Have a safe trip!