Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Nonetheless, "Next Year in Jerusalem"

Two weeks ago, I went to the Jewish cemetery in Vienna. Several of the tombstones I visited had important new information. The most important of the bunch is the stone of Meier Pickholz, whose parents had been unknown to me since I first heard of him in 1999. I knew that he had died in Vienna in 1916 and that his wife, Laura Spiegelglas, died in 1919.

They had a daughter Gusta about whom I wrote on Holocaust Memorial Day. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Gusta is a second cousin of my grandfather.

Meier Pickholz' grave in Vienna
Meir has a tombstone, but the photograph I received nearly twenty years ago made it look as though the inscription was worn away. (Laura has no stone.) On this visit, I was able to read most of the stone. As I wrote in my blog that evening,

A pure and honest man

R' Meir Pickholz

ben R' Asher Selig

from Tarnopol

Died [something about a hospital?] in Vienna

17th Kislev 5677 

So I finally had his father's name and his place in the family - a first cousin of my great-grandfather. But it was raining, we were rushed and I had trouble wth the bit in the brackets. A few days later I received an email from a reader named Itzik Popper, an accountant here in Israel. He read the missing line correctly:

נפטר בתוך הגולה פה וויען
 Died in the midst of the Exile here (in) Vienna

The phrase "in the midst of the Exile" is from the first verse of the prophet Ezekiel, which we will read next week on the Shavuot holiday. That is only one of several possible translations from the original Hebrew.

I found this very exciting. I had never seen anything of this sort on a Pikholz family grave. I wrote to David and Anna, great-grandchildren of Meir's brother. David did not understand - not the inscription and not my excitement. He wrote:
In 1916 both Vienna, Austria and Tarnopol, Galicia Region are part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.So was Meier an internal exile ? If so, in exile from what, or whom?
David was not raised with the Jewish traditions and the quotes which are second nature to many of us. Perhaps he also thought it odd that I had capitalized "Exile." When I wrote "Exile from the Land of Israel," he responded:
It is no excuse that I may too readily consider the ancestors, in certain respects of their lives, as ‘citizens’ of their respective nations of residence.
I replied:
We have been in exile for two thousand years and those of us brought up in the traditions sense that automatically..

The fact that this is stated on Meier's grave is to me a wonderful thing. Something has always pulled my attention to him. 
And he asked:
I am now wondering why you did use the present tense rather than the past tense thus: “... we HAD been in exile for two thousand years ...”
How does the existence of the State of Israel and the policy of Aliyot affect the historical fact of exile, objectively and, dare I ask for personal view, in the subjective sense ?
And I replied:
1. Half of us still are.
2. The fact that we have our own place does not mean the process is complete. We still say "Next year in Jerusalem" even if some of us are here now. This is a thing that happens in stages and we are still in process.
Indeed, we say - sing - "Next Year in Jerusalem" - "LeShanah HaBaa Birushalayim" - at the close of Yom Kippur; near the end of the Passover seder; and as we dance with the Torah scrolls on Simhat Torah. Even if we are in Israel and even if we are in Jerusalem.

I write this Tuesday the twenty-seventh of the month of Iyyar. This evening we celebrate the city of Jerusalem on the fiftieth anniversary of its miraculous liberation and reunification.
The wall of the Old City - from the Times of Israel
We celebrate in the synagogue and we celebrate in the public square. We celebrate with song and prayer and thanksgiving.

It is our destiny to be here and we are both fortunate and challenged, living as we are at a time when this is not some distant hope but a matter of personal choice. Many have taken to singing "Next year in rebuilt Jerusalem," which is more of a prayer because although Jerusalem is in our hands, rebuilt Jerusalem is decidedly not.

The translation of Ezekiel's line "in the midst of the Exile" is from the Koren Bible. Soncino prefers "among the captives," which is less literal. "In the midst" can mean time, the two thousand years that we have been living through, many of us accepting it as normal. "In the midst" can mean geography - being in one place rather than another. "In the midst" can speak to the mixed populations, as we are scattered among the nations. "Exile" indeed has all those dimensions - and it is a state of mind to boot.


But in any case, I don't believe that it means lower case, generic "exile" as David understood it. Like Napoleon in Elba or the Romanian King Michael. "Exile" (upper case) is the disaster that has overwhelmed and distorted Jewish life for two thousand years. In our day, it is slowly and suddenly coming to an end. As Isaiah says (chapter 60), hastened in its time.

I have always been drawn to this indeterminate cousin Meir and his wife Laura and I am very proud of them for that glorious bit of epitaph. They understood. They understood that Exile is an abnormal condition that must eventually come to an end. They understood that in quoting the prophet Ezekiel, they were locked into ancient hopes.

Had they lived into the 1920s, they might have been buried here.

Happy Jerusalem Day.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Where Are All The Sterns From Kalocsa?

Eleonora Stern, wife of Ahron Schiffer
Bluma
After visiting the old cemetery in Kalocsa Hungary the week before last and finding several Stern graves, including my third-great-grandparents, I decided to see what Jewish vital records are available for the town.

I was particularly interested in the death record for my third-great-grandmother Barbola (Bluma) Grunwald, the wife of Salamon (Zelig) Stern. At least I thought she was my 3-g-gm. Fani (Feige) Stern Bauer's mother could have been someone else and this woman a second wife. There are, after all, no records before 1850 and Feige was born in 1841. For that I needed additional information.

It turns out that Family Search has birth, death and marriage records for Kalocsa for the period 1850-1895, on line and at no charge. The film number is 624855.

I found the death record for Bluma Grunwald easily enough because the tombstone itself gave me the date of death.
The record is on the second line. She is listed as Grunwald with no mention of her husband's surname Stern











She died of "exhaustion" at age eighty, a widow originally from Perkat. Her death was 27 January 1887 and she was buried the next day. Her parents are Jakob Grunwald and Fani Hercz. My fourth-great-grandparents? I think so. My 2-g-gm is Fani like Bluma's mother.

Salamon's children
I spent several days downloading the whole set of records from Family Search and reviewing them. We knew that Salomon Stern (assuming there is only one!) had a daughter Fani (~1841), a daughter Sali (1851) and a son Wilhelm (1853) but nothing else. The first breakthrough came with the marriage records, which all have age and father's name. Here are Salamon's children as they appear in the marriage records.
  • Fani Stern, age 21, married Simon Bauer in February 1862 - my second g-gm.
  • Sophie Stern, age 20, married Avroham (Adolf) Schein in June 1863.
  • Michael Stern, age 24, married Leni Braun in December 1868.
  • Ignatz Stern, age 31, married Beti Schneider in April 1871.
  • Rosalia Stern, age 20, married Joseph Spitzer in May 1871.
The age for Roslia fits Sali.

I had now identified two children between Fani and Sali and became much more comfortable claiming Bluma as the mother of all of them. Still, there is a break of seven years between Michael and Sali/Rosalia.

There are eight other Stern marriages, including Fani, the daughter of Michael, in 1892. Four others are children of Ahron Stern who is about fifteen years younger than Salamon and could be his brother or nephew. The others are children of "M. Hersch" and David.

So based on a family of six children, I went through the birth and death records. Wilhelm had died at age three.

Salamon Stern [Zelig] b. Abt 1805, Paks, m. Barbala (Beti) Grunwald, [Bluma] b. Abt 1806,
Perkata, (daughter of Jakob Grunwald and Fani Hercz) d. 27 Jan 1887, 2 Shevat 5647, buried
Kalocsa.  Salomon died 6 May 1862, 6 Iyyar 5622, buried Kalocsa.
I.   Ignatz Stern [Izak Leib] b. Abt 1840, Kalocsa, m. 20 Apr 1871, in Kalocsa, Beti
     Schneider, [Bluma] b. Abt 1842.
     A.   Hermina Stern b. 15 Mar 1872, Kalocsa.
     B.   Salomon Stern [Zelig] b. 3 Nov 1873, Kalocsa.
     C.   Rosi Stern [Rivka] b. 11 Sep 1875, Kalocsa, d. note.
     D.   Josefina Stern [Frumat] b. 26 Dec 1876, Kalocsa.
     E.   Izidor Stern [??????] b. 9 Jan 1880, Kalocsa.
     F.   Matias Stern [Menahem Mendel] b. 31 Mar 1882, Kalocsa.
     G.   Jolan Stern [Chana] b. 20 Dec 1884, Kalocsa.
II.  Fani Stern [Feige] b. 1842, Kalocsa HUNGARY, m. 20 Jan 1862, in Kalocsa HUNGARY,
     Simon Bauer, [Shemaya] b. 1833, Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY, (son of Lasar Bauer and WOMAN
     xXxXx) d. 20 Jul 1902, 15-16 Tammuz 5662, buried Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY.  Fani died
     16 Mar 1911, 16-17 Adar 5671, buried Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY.
     A.   Ilona Bauer [Dobrisch] b. 1 Jan 1863, Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY, m. Lipot Wiesel.
           Ilona died 21 Aug 1893.
     B.   Sigmund Bauer [Yehoshua] b. 28 Feb 1865, m. Rozsi Stern, [Sherl] b. Abt 1873, d.
          29 Jul 1928, 13 Av 5688, buried Neolog Cemetery Budapest.  Sigmund died 29 Apr
          1938, 28-29 Nisan 5698, buried Budapest HUNGARY.
     C.   Regina Bauer [Rivka] b. 1 Jul 1870, Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY, m. 8 May 1890, in
          Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY, Moritz Rosenzweig, [Moshe] b. 26 Nov 1858, Domanis
          SLOVAKIA, (son of Isaak Leib (Ignacz) Rosenzweig and Mari Zelinka) d. 1/2 Nov
          1928, 19 Heshvan 5689, buried (photo), Pittsburgh PA (Poale Zedeck-Sheraden).
          Regina died 5 Sep 1950, 23 Elul 5710, buried (photo), Pittsburgh PA (Poale
          Zedeck-Sheraden).
     D.   Louisa Bauer [Leah] b. 1 May 1873, Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY, m. (1) Mano Steiner,
          [Menasche] d. YES, m. (2) Christopher Andrea, d. YES.  Louisa died 8 Dec 1951, 9
          Kislev 5712, buried Troy Hill, Reserve Twp, Pittsburgh.
     E.   Lajos Bauer [Eliezer?] b. 3 Mar 1875, Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY, d. 17 Jul 1917,
          17-18 Tammuz 5677, buried Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY.
     F.   Hermina Bauer b. 31 Mar 1877, Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY, killed in the Shoah
     G.   Zsuzsanna Bauer b. 28 May 1884, Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY, killed in the Shoah.
III. Sophie Stern [Scheindel] b. Abt 1843, Kalocsa, m. 17 Jun 1863, in Kalocsa, Adolph
     Schein, [Avroham] b. Abt 1840, Rigiza Hungary?.  Sophie died note.
     A.   Stillborn b. 10 Jun 1870, Kalocsa.
     B.   Isidor Schein [Israel] b. 21 Aug 1871, Kalocsa.
     C.   Dezso Schein [David] b. 9 Sep 1874, Kalocsa.
     D.   Szilard Schein [?????] b. 10 May 1878, Kalocsa, d. 24 Apr 1886, 19 Nisan 5646,
           buried Kalocsa.
     E.   Salomon Schein [Yehoshua Zelig] b. 23 Feb 1880, Kalocsa.
IV.  Michael Stern b. Abt 1844, Kalocsa, m. 2 Dec 1868, in Kalocsa, Leni Braun, b. Abt 1848
     A.   Fani Stern b. 9 Sep 1869, Kalocsa, m. 15 May 1892, in Kalocsa, Ignacz
           Sonnenschein, b. Abt 1866.
     B.   Scharlota Stern [Scheindel] b. 24 Sep 1870, Kalocsa.
     C.   Salomon Stern [Zelig] b. 9 Oct 1871, Kalocsa, d. note?.
     D.   Rosa Stern [Rivka] b. 9 Jun 1875, Kalocsa.
V.   Rosalia (Sali) Stern [Sharl] b. 20 Feb 1851, Kalocsa, m. 29 May 1871, in Kalocsa,
     Joseph Spitzer, [Yosef] b. Abt 1844.
     A.   Neti Spitzer [Esther] b. 4 Mar 1872, Kalocsa, m. 16 Dec 1888, in Kalocsa, Nachem
           Friedman, [Nahum]
     B.   Siga Stern [Yehoshua Zelig] b. 19 Jun 1876, Kalocsa.
     C.   Mari Stern [Miriam] b. 15 Apr 1878, Kalocsa.
     D.   Rozsa Stern [Rivka] b. 10 Oct 1880, Kalocsa.
     E.   Ilona Stern [Leah] b. 10 Aug 1882, Kalocsa, d. 11 Aug 1887, 21 Av 5647, buried Kalocsa
     F.   Zsofie Stern [Scheindel] b. 22 Mar 1885, Kalocsa.
     G.   Mihaly Stern [YomTov Yehiel] b. 25 Jun 1889, Kalocsa.
VI.  Wilhelm Stern b. 2 Feb 1853, Kalocsa, d. 30 Jun 1856, 27 Sivan 5616, buried Kalocsa.

Regina in red is my great-grandmother and Sigmund in blue is Cousin Shabtai's grandfather.

Salamon as Zelig
As I wrote last week, Salamon's tombstone gives his Jewish name as Zelig, and Bluma's identifies her as "the wife of Zelig Stern." Ignatz and Michael named their first sons Salomon with the Jewish name Zelig. Sali Spitzer named her first son Siga (a form of Sigmund) with the Jewish name Yehoshua (=Joshua) Zelig and Fani's first son Sigmund was Yehoshua. Sofie Schein's youngest is Salomon and Yehoshua Zelig.

And my great-grandmother Regina Stern Bauer named her first son Sigmund and Zelig.

As I mentioned last week in a different context, Zelig is the Yiddish kinui (=nickname) for Asher. But it's not so simple. My friend Rabbi Dovid Shapiro tells me that the book on names, the Beis Shmuel, gives Zelig as an official kinui for Yitzhak, Yaakov, Reuven, Yehudah, Asher, Pinchas, Yehoshua, Yekutiel, Gershon, Chaim, Azriel, Nathan and a few more. Truly a multi-purpose nickname.

So it appears that my 3-g-gf was Zelig based on Yehoshua and his grandsons were given one or both of these Jewish names, with secular names Salomon or Sigmund.

I would like to see Shabtai's grandfather's tombstone in Budapest. Perhaps he too has both names.

Some of the other Sterns used these names at the same time and they too may be grandchildren of our Salomon/Zelig. Or nephews.

The other Sterns in Kalocsa
What about the scores or other Sterns in those Kalocsa records? Some are clearly identified families. Ahron and his wife Fani Kramer had nine children and I have identified fourteen grandchildren. But perhaps Anton Stern, with nine children, is also a son of Ahron. And others - Beti Weisz, for instance, may be from our Salomon.

Birth record with three given names
The incomplete information, the repeated given names and the various nicknames makes it hard to know. Answers may lie in the post-1895 records, particularly the deaths.(I actually have sixty pages of those, but very poor quality.)

Here is what I have recorded.

I.   M. Hersch Stern m. WOMAN.
     A.   Jakob Stern m. Rosi Straser.
          1.   Wilhelm Stern b. 12 Apr 1855, Kalocsa.
          2.   Joachim Leopold Stern b. 15 Mar 1857, Kalocsa, d. 1912.
          3.   Emanuel Stern b. 1 Nov 1860, Kalocsa.
          4.   Maximilian Stern [Meir ???] b. 1863, d. 1 Nov 1863, 19 Heshvan 5624, buried Kalocsa
     B.   Leopold Stern m. 2 Dec 1868, in Kalocsa, Mari Schiffer, (daughter of Aharon
          Schifer and Eleonora (Leni) Stern).
          1.   Mikal Stern [Yehiel Michel] b. 4 Jul 1870, Kalocsa.
          2.   Gisela Stern [Gittel] b. 27 Dec 1871, Kalocsa, d. 9 Sep 1873, Elul, buried Kalocsa
          3.   Rosa Stern b. 31 Dec 1873, Kalocsa.
II.  Aharon Stern b. Abt 1821, m. Fani Kramer, b. Abt 1829, d. 2 Jan 1892, buried Kalocsa.
      Aharon died 16 Aug 1873, buried Kalocsa.
     A.   Rosalia Stern [Sharl] b. Abt 1853, m. 19 Feb 1877, in Kalocsa, Samuel Salomon [Shelomo]
          1.   Adolf Salomon [Aharon] b. 22 Nov 1877, Kalocsa.
          2.   Sandor Zsiga Salomon [Yehoshua] b. 11 Sep 1879, Kalocsa.
          3.   Bercsi Salomon [Issachar] b. 25 Apr 1882, Kalocsa.
          4.   Rozsa Salomon [Rachel] b. 25 Mar 1885, Kalocsa.
          5.   stillborn son b. 26 Apr 1888, Kalocsa.
          6.   Mariska Salomon [Yenta] b. 29 Apr 1889, Kalocsa.
     B.   Hani (Johanna) Stern [Chana] b. 15 Dec 1856, Kalocsa, m. 12 Mar 1884, in
          Kalocsaa, Jakob Gamsz, [Yaakov]
          1.   Armin Gamsz [Aharon] b. 5 Dec 1884, Kalocsa.
          2.   Rozsa Gamsz [Rachel] b. 10 May 1886, Kalocsa.
          3.   Orzse Gamsz [Esther] b. 24 Mar 1889, Kalocsa.
          4.   Berta Gamsz [Deicha??] b. 4 Mar 1890, Kalocsa.
          5.   Ferencz Gamsz [UriShraga (Feiv] b. 21 Jun 1894, Kalocsa, d. 16 Jul 1894,
               buried Kalocsa.
     C.   Pepi Stern m. 4 Aug 1890, in Kalocsa, Fulop Schwarcz.
          1.   Vilmos Schwarcz [Binyamin Zeev] b. 20 Jun 1891, Kalocsa.
          2.   Nandor Schwarcz b. 28 Mar 1893, Kalocsa.
     D.   Julie Stern m. 25 Jun 1870, in Kalocsa, Joseph Friedman.
     E.   Leni Stern b. 19 Jan 1859, Kalocsa, d. 16 Feb 1859, 12 Adar 5619, buried Kalocsa
     F.   Bernad Stern b. 25 Mar 1860, Kalocsa, m. Regina Ullman.
         1.  Berta Stern [Beila] b. 3 Jun 1885, Kalocsa.
     G.   Rosi Stern b. 4 Dec 1862, Kalocsa.
     H.   Simon Stern [Shimshon] b. 14 Jan 1865, Kalocsa, d. 0114 1865, buried Kalocsa.
     I.   Kati Stern b. 21 Mar 1866, Kalocsa, d. 2 Mar 1868, buried Kalocsa.
III. Simon Stern m. WOMAN.
     A.   Mari Stern [Mindel] b. Abt 1814, m. Jakob Engel, b. Abt 1816, d. 23 Nov 1882.
          Mari died 8 Dec 1872, 6 Kislev 5633, buried Kalocsa.
          1.   Szali Engel b. Abt 1847, m. Fulop Klein.  Szali died 17 Nov 1892, buried Kalocsa
IV.  David Stern m. Fani Breuer.
     A.   Vilmos Stern [Binyamin Zeev] b. Abt 1870, m. Hani Roth, [Hindel]
          1.   Regina Stern [Rivka] b. 4 Aug 1891, Kalocsa.
          2.   Helen Stern b. 1 Jun 1893, Kalocsa.
V.   Eleonora (Leni) Stern [Leah] m. Aharon Schifer, b. Abt 1821, d. 9 Oct 1887, buried Kalocsa
     A.   Mari Schiffer m. 2 Dec 1868, in Kalocsa, Leopold Stern, (son of M. Hersch Stern
          and WOMAN).
          1.   (see children above in purple).
     B.   Jacob Schifer b. 21 Apr 1851, Kalocsa.
     C.   Josef Schifer b. 26 Apr 1855, Kalocsa.
     D.   Ignatz Leopold Schifer b. 6 Aug 1857, Kalocsa.
     E.   Emanuel Schifer b. 12 Mar 1861, Kalocsa.
     F.   Rosi Schiffer b. 16 Sep 1862, Kalocsa.
     G.   Salomon Schiffer b. 17 Mar 1865, Kalocsa.
     H.   Abroham Schoffer b. 17 Mar 1865, Kalocsa.
VI.  Beti Stern m. Leopold Weisz.
     A.   Fani Weisz b. 1 Oct 1851, Kalocsa.
     B.   Bernhad Weisz b. 24 Dec 1856, Kalocsa.
     C.   Abraham Weisz b. 18 May 1859, Kalocsa.
     D.   Salomon Zsiga Weisz [Zelig] b. 6 Nov 1862, Kalocsa.
     E.   Ida Weisz b. 2 Apr 1868, Kalocsa.
     F.   Ignatz Gustav Weisz [Yehudah] b. 7081871, Kalocsa, d. 1896?.
     G.   Isidor Weisz [Israel] b. 26 Jan 1874, Kalocsa.
VII. Joseph Stern m. Cilli Grunspan.
     A.   Philip Stern [Lipa?] b. 11 Aug 1864, Kalocsa.
VIII Juli Stern m. Lowy Braun.
     A.   Gesa Braun [Eliezer?] b. 20 Oct 1865, Kalocsa, d. Maybe 188?.
     B.   Ilka Braun b. 31 Aug 1868, Kalocsa.
     C.   Arpad Braun b. 30 Nov 1870, Kalocsa.
IX.  Anton Stern [Naftali] m. Neti Reh, [Esther]
     A.   Rosi Stern [Shifra] b. 16 Mar 1876, Kalocsa.
     B.   Adolf Stern [Aharon] b. 3 Oct 1877, Kalocsa.
     C.   Bela Stern [Issachar Dov] b. 31 May 1879, Kalocsa, d. 3 Aug 1879, buried Kalocsa
     D.   Margit Stern [Miriam] b. 3 Jun 1880, Kalocsa.
     E.   Markus Stern [Meir] b. 30 Nov 1881, Kalocsa.
     F.   Lajos (Lazar) Stern [Eliezer] b. 26 Apr 1883, Kalocsa.
     G.   Imre Stern [Meir?] b. 21 Sep 1884, Kalocsa, d. 13 Sep 1885, buried Kalocsa
     H.   Jolan Stern [Yentel] b. 20 May 1886, Kalocsa.
     I.     Malvin Stern [Miriam] b. 24 May 1889, Kalocsa.
X.   Helene Stern [Leah] m. Joseph Strasser, [Yosef Zvi]
     A.   Emil Strasser [Yehiel Michel] b. 9 Sep 1876, Kalocsa.
     B.   Scharlota Strasser [Charna] b. 9 Sep 1876, Kalocsa.
XI.  Sigmund Stern [?????] m. Nina Czabel.
     A.   Rozalia Stern [Sarah] b. 29 Nov 1878, Kalocsa.
XII. Mathilda Stern [Miriam] m. Salomon Schwartz, [Shalom?]
     A.   Scharlota Schwartz [Charna] b. 1 Jan 1888, Kalocsa.
XIII Wilmos Stern m. Emilia Steiner.
     A.   Wilma Stern [Feige??] b. 4 May 1881, Kalocsa.
XIV. Mari Stern [Miriam] m. Ignatz Klein, [Yitzhak]
     A.   Bela Klein [Binyamin] b. 27 Dec 1881, Kalocsa.
     B.   Riza Klein [Reizel Leah] b. 18 Feb 1884, Kalocsa.
     C.   Moritz Klein [Meir] b. 16 Dec 1884, Kalocsa.
     D.   Salamon Sandor Klein b. 23 Jan 1877, Kalocsa.
XV.  Salamon Stern [Shelomo Zvi] m. Johanna Silberberger, [Chana]
     A.   Ilonka Stern [Gittel] b. 27 Feb 1888, Kalocsa.
XVI Johanna Stern m. Salamon Zilberberg.
     A.   Riza Zilberberg [Rivka] b. 20 Feb 1891, Kalocsa.
XVII Eugenia Stern m. MAN.
     A.   Margit Stern b. 24 Aug 1895, Kalocsa.
XVIII. Mozes Stern m. Rozalia Braun.
     A.   Hani Stern b. Abt 1880, d. 18 Jul 1886, buried Kalocsa.
XIX.  Rosa Stern b. Abt 1860, d. 23 Feb 1877, buried Kalocsa.
XX. Hanni Stern b. Abt 1842, d. 6 Sep 1884.

So what happened to all these people?  Where are their descendants? WHO are their descendats?

The Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names at Yad Vashem has almost no Sterns from Kalocsa. Most of their Kalocsa victims are from "lists of murdered Jews" not the more anecdotal Pages of Testimony.  So if they were killed in the Shoah, they should be represented there.

Steve Morse's gold page shows no Stern at Ellis Island among sixty-three Kalocsa entries.

The JewishGen Family Finder has ninety researchers for Stern from Hungary, but only one besides me has registered Kalocsa. He has also registered Paks, where our Salamon was born. And he has logged in recently. Looks promising. I'll contact him with a link to this post.

There is also one person who recently listed Sterns from Paks and Kalocsa at the Family Tree of the Jewish People. That is another good place to start.

There are some records cited in the H-SIG database but some of them are not clear and I have not recorded them.

There is obviously a lot of work to be done but putting it online with some social media magic may get the ball rolling.


Housekeeping notes

Skalat memorial
The annual Skalat memorial at the Holon Cemetery outside Tel-Aviv is generally the day after Shavuot - this year Thursday the first of June. I have not yet been notified of the time, but it is usually five o'clock or five-thirty. Watch this space for the time.

Coming presentations in Israel
I am giving two presentations here in Israel in the coming weeks.

4 June 2017, 7:00 PM – IGS “Shorashim BaGalil” Kiryat Tivon, Library and Memorial Center, Migdal 2
and
19 June 2017, 6:30 PM – IGS Rishon Lezion, Museum of Rishon Lezion, Ahad Ha’am 2.
Both are the Hebrew version of
Lessons in Jewish DNA – One Man’s Successes and What He Learned On the Journey

Presentations in Orlando
I have now signed up introducers for all four of my presentations at the IAJGS Conference in Orlando 23-17 July. Two of them are people I have never met - but they are Pikholz descendants, one from Skalat and one from Rozdol.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Stones and No-Stones - Day Eight: Vienna

Gate 4, the all-Jewish section
One of the gems of the Pikholz Project is the Virtual Family Cemetery. The Vienna section of that virtual cemetery includes - at this writing - sixteen burials, all but four have been photographed. Most of the photographs were done seventeen years ago by an employee of the cemetery and frankly are quite unsatisfactory. Plus there is one more burial whose identity is not clear. In any case, since I found myself in Vienna, I wanted to visit them all. Keep in mind that several of the graves contain the remains of more than one person.

The cemetery visit was cold and  rainy from start to finish. But flat, with paved roads.

I shall go through them one by one, showing the pictures I took this week. Stay with me please to the end as there some really good bits of new information. Some of the graves are in Gate 1, the others are in Gate 4. The tombstones with the most important new information are presented in this blog on a yellow background.

Abraham Ahron and Josef Riss

Abraham Ahron Riss is buried with his son Josef Riss. His wife is Breine the half sister of my great-grandfather. The tombstone also commemorates Josef's wife Franczeska who was killed later, during the Holocaust. The family replaced an older stone some years ago.
Wilhelm Riss

Next to them to the right (here on the left) is the eldest of the Riss sons Wilhelm. There is no stone.  The cemetery can make provisions for a tombstone should the family be interested

A Riss daughter, Regina is buried with her husband Dawid Gottlieb and their adult daughter Breine Ritter. Their stone is below on the left. It needs cleaned and relettered.


On the right is another Riss son, Isidor. He is buried next to Szulim and Chane Hirsch. He has no tombstone. Perhaps his family might want to inquire about putting one up.

A grave which we had not yet identified is for Sarah Kornberg, who died in 1914 at age fifty-four. We have a person by this name but we could not identify the grave as hers with certainty. This was my first look at this stone and it definitely says "Sarah bat Peretz" which is what ours should say. The tombstone needs repair.

A few months ago, I reported that the AGAD archives received a new batch of death records for the years 1908-15 and it includes the 1915 death of fifty-nine year old Jakob Pikholz. He is Sarah's brother. According to their family's tradition, they were twins. But the ages do not match. Perhaps the actual record for Jakob will clarify this but for now all we have is the JRI-Poland index.

Greta Pikholz's grave has no stone.
Sarah's grave is the one which I have yet to add to the Virtual Cemetery and I'll add her soon.

We do not know where Sarah's husband is buried.

On the left is the grave of the child Greta Pickholz. It has no stone. Greta maternal grandmother is Sarah Kornberg and her paternal grandmother is Sarah's sister Blime.

Greta's parents and six siblings were deported to Maly Trostinez in 1942 and were shot.

Peter Pickholz' stone should be between these two.
Blime had a son Peter Pickholz who died of an illness in 1916 while serving in the Austrian army. Although his grave site is known and he is in an area full of soldiers with stones which appear to be government issue, Peter has no stone.

What I did learn is that there is a large memorial near those military graves which lists the names of Austrian soldiers who died during WWI. "Pickholz P." is on that list.

Scheindel Peshe Pikholz, the daughter of David Pikholz of Rozdol and his wife Sherke Kawa, is the left of the three graves below. A translation of her epitaph is in the Virtual Cemetery.

The middle grave of the three below shows the space where Ajzer Pikholz is buried without a marker. The names of the two women in the adjacent grave.are shown in order to help locating the space. As I mentioned above, the cemetery would be happy to assist family members who wish to erect a tombstone or to repair or replace an existing stone. I discussed Ajzer (also spelled Ojzer) two months ago.

On the right below is a grave which had not been photographed for our project. Josef Pohorilles was born in 1869 in Skalat to Markus Pohorille and Alte Pikholz the daughter of Nachman Pikholz. On his birth record, it is spelled Paryle. He died in Vienna in 1957. His wife Chaje / Klara Rosenblatt died in 1962. Both are in the same grave which I did not find legible. They seem to have been childless.
















We have long known of a Markus Pickholz who died in Vienna in May 1915. Cemetery records say he was twenty-four and that he was born near Tarnopol. The problem is that we have two Markus Pickholz born near Tarnopol who are close in age. The son of Josef Pickholz was born in 1889 and the son of Isaac Pickholz was born in 1892. There are two questions - which is this grave and what happened to the other Markus.

The grave photo I have had since 2000 is very poor quality and neither the cemetery itself nor the community offices has additional information. I was hoping that a visit to the grave itself might help.

As you can see here on the right, it did. This grave says Mordecai ben Yosef, which makes him a grandson of Uncle Selig whom I have mentioned many times before. I shall adjust my "Uncle Selig" presentation to include this.

The other Markus may be the father of Zisl Kling, but that is just conjecture. There are some additional possibilities.

On Holocaust Day, a few weeks ago, I told the story of Gittel / Gusta Pickholz who was born in Tarnopol in 1901 to Meier Pickholz and Laura Spiegelglass. We have no idea - nor even a guess - who Meier's parents are. It has long bothered me that this threesome is gone without a trace and with nothing connecting them to any other Pikholz.

We have a grave location for Laura (Lea) from the 2000 photographs, but when we went to the site this week, we saw nothing that looks like that. The empty space to the right of the stone in the photograph on the left is where her grave is.

We also visited Meier's grave. In this 2000 photograph, the inscription appears to have been worn away entirely. He died in December 1916 and the cemetery record says he is forty-two, i.e. born about 1874. We also have a late (1915) marriage record fron Vienna which has him born about 1872. Does that matter? You bet it does!

We found the grave just as in the photograph, but Haim suggested we do a grass rubbing and perhaps we could coax something out of the stone. For instance this:
Here lies buried

A pure and honest man

R' Meir Pickholz

ben R' Asher Selig

from Tarnopol

Died [something about a hospital?] in Vienna

17th Kislev 5677

Ben Asher Selig? Uncle Selig's son? This is the only time we have seen his name as Asher, but Selig is a standard Yiddish name for the Hebrew Asher, so it's not really a surprise.

And of course we have no other Selig Pikholz, so there is no question of identification.

The thing is Uncle Selig's wife Chana died of cancer in September 1873 at age forty five, so she could have had a son in 1872 but not 1874. Of course Meier could be from a second wife, but we have no evidence that Uncle Selig remarried and certainly none that he remarried so quickly after Chana died.

Except that Meir was born in Tarnopol and Chana died in Skalat, where the family lived. Maybe Uncle Selig married a second time, this time to a woman from Tarnopol. And they lived in her hometown. Where Meir was born.

I also wonder if Uncle Selig's granddaughter Freide Migden named her son Meir after her father's younger brother Meir. That would make sense, though they could both have been named independently for the same (unknown) person. Meir Migden's birth year is a matter of some debate but in any event it was after Uncle Selig's Meier died.

There is a lot to consider here - and significant changes to be made in my presentation. And work to do on my database and web site. But Meir, Laura and Gusta have a Pikholz family.

My trip was planned around selected locations in Slovakia and Hungary and then I added Nuremberg. Vienna was nothing more than an afterthought. Three major successes and any one of them would have made the visit worthwhile.

People ask why should they look for a document or visit a cemetery or take a DNA test.

"What are you looking for?"

"What are you trying to prove?"

The answer is that I don't always know. I'll find out when I see the evidence or the test results or the photographs. Vienna was mostly a courtesy visit but Vienna returned the courrtesy with significant information about Meier and Markus Pickholz and Sarah Kornberg. Information that told us who they are in the family structure.

I also hope that some of my readers and family members will at least speak to the cemetery people about the missing tombstones and those that need repaired or replaced.

A wildly successful conclusion to a wildly successful trip.

(Note: I intended to spend my final day in Vienna at the offices of the the Jewish Community, but considering that no one answered my inquiries about anything, I figured I would get more done just catching up with myself. I have much to catch up with.)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Beeg Problema - Days Six and Seven: Kunszentmiklos

I reported on Days Six and Seven yesterday, but Kalocsa was bracketed by two visits to Kunszentmiklos on those same days. I have mentioned this Hungarian town before - it's where my great-grandmother's father's family lived. The town is full of Bauers, many of whom had lived previously in Apostag, a bit further south.

The plan was to visit the cemetery in Kunszentmiklos Sunday, then get to Kalocsa and perhaps stop in Apostag on the way up to Vienna Monday. I have a whole list of Bauer graves with locations, but the three I want specifically are my second-great-grandparents Simon and Fani (Stern) Bauer and their son Lajos, who is my father's namesake. I need to see those to clarify some things about my father's name.

But I also have a general interest in all the Bauers since they are almost certainly our relatives. I just have no idea how they fit together.

The Kalocsa stop I discussed yesterday and Apostag would be a general fishing expedition for whatever Bauers we could find.

We were told that the cemetery in Kunszentmiklos is a) in very poor condition and b) locked. The person we had spoken to about accompanying us was not able to make it and left us with this bit of advice:
Have never been there, the word for Jewish cemetery is "zsidó temető" print this and show them this and then they will take you there. Don't talk or give money to gypsyes if you don't want to be robbed. People are usually very helpful. The Christian cemetery is on Bocskay utca. Behind it is the JEwish cemetery in trees and bushes. GPS coordinates are 47°01'03.5"N 19°06'25.3"E

I hope with this info in hand you can manage:) If not, call me.
The bit about the gypsies became our running joke whenever we had to interact with anyone. 
 
I also reached out to a few other people, but did not get responses by the time we set out from Budapest Sunday. We arrived at Kunszentmiklos and found the cemetery. Unlike at Rajec, there was no easy climbing over the wall. We decided to go on to Kalocsa and come back to Kunszentmiklos on our way north Monday, perhaps after buyng a ladder.

I emailed all our contacts once again asking who might know how to get a key and this time they all responded with a phone number of Peter Tamas, the the Director of the Countryside Cemetery Office of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Hungary. We asked Nora, the daughter of the Kalocsa hotel owner, to make the call and she came back with the name and address of the man with a key. Of course Janos Fokics speaks no English and is "very old." She sent Linda a note in Hungarian she could show Janos, so he would unserstand what we need. And we heard once again that the cemetery is quite impossible due to the vegetation.

So we didn't buy a ladder.
  
Monday we made the hour-long drive from Kalocsa to Kunszentmiklos, not stopping at Apostag along the way. With our trusty GPS, we arrived at Janos' house at about 12:30. We reached around the gate and let ourselves in. After trying several doors we found him. He isn't THAT OLD. He started to give us a key and a small crowbar, then we heard his mantra for the day: BEEG PROBLEMA.

He went back into his garage and came out with ........ a ladder. (HE is going to climb over the wall?? Seriously?)
 
The ladder didn't fit into our car due to our bags, so he and his wife unblocked their own car which was in the garage and we set out in two cars for the cemetery. This whole process had taken a good half hour.
 
We got to the cemetery and Janos tried the key. BEEG PROBLEMA! It wouldn't turn. He tried the crowbar. BEEG PROBLEMA.  He climbed up the ladder, straddled the top and pulled up the ladder. From the inside it took him a few minutes to open the door, with the key-crowbar combo. 

As we entered, we saw a monument in front of us with a list of local Holocaust victims. There was much vegetation on both sides but we could see a few tombstones. A very few. Linda and I split up and began looking for Bauer graves among the branches... and thorns... and trees... and the undergrowth that trapped our legs with every move. BEEG PROBLEMA.
 
It turns out most of the tombstones were behind the monument in the thickest part of the vegetation. Linda found what looked like a whole row - several in fact - of very nice legible tombstones, some of them Bauers, though not our three. She called me over and after getting to the first three or four, worked her way out and let me proceed. So long sunlight, hello forest cover.


I had small hedge clippers in my hand, my phone/camera in my one pocket and a plastic bag with my notebook, pen and glasses. It was very tough going but many of the stones were excellent. It was impossible to read the older ones, not necessarily because they were worn, but because I couldn't get at them properly. I decided to wear the glasses.

I pushed my way in deeper and deeper, cutting my arms on the thorns. (Yes, I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt!) At some point the plastic bag had enough and fell apart. The notebook, pen and my glasses case went into my pants pocket. Then I had enough and decided to try to work my way out, taking a slightly different route. My glasses case was no longer in my pocket. I was not going to try to retrace my steps to look for it. 

Eventually I was out. Without my notebook. the notebook with all the inscriptions that I had written down in Kalocsa. I went back in, this time trying to retrace my steps exactly. The broken vegetation showed the way somewhat. I fought my way out again and mentioned to Linda that the notebook was way more important than the glasses case I had lost. She asked if the glasses were inside and I said no they are ... here... on... my... OH NO! 
 
BEEG PROBLEMA!!

Back in once again, stepping very carefully so as not to crush my glasses by mistake.. After about ten minutes I found the case. The scratches on my arms really hurt. Stung mostly. There was blood on my scalp. Then I saw the glasses. they had fallen lenses up. I probably wouldn't have seen them any other way. After all, I wasn't - your know - wearing my glasses.

The whole adventure was about two and a half hours. Janos was very patient. Linda too. We hadn't found what we were looking for. But in the end, we hadn't lost anything either.

We all exited through the door. I gave Janos most of my remaining Hungarian money. He made a sound which meant either "thank you" or "cheap Americans!"
 
But this was not the mess that we had in Slovakian cemeteries or in the back of the cemetery in Budapest. The terrain is flat.The tombstones are by and large quite good.  And they are our family, hidden there under the jungle.

We just need some Agent Orange or a herd of goats. And someone to haul it all out. A few thousand dollars would probably do it. Once it is properly documented, maintenance would be optional. Maybe I should talk to someone in charge. If there is someone in charge.
 
Next stop Vienna. GPS said three and a half hours. GPS lied. I needed a shower and a change of clothes.