Tracing the Pick Family

The following was submitted by Aryeh Leonard Shcherbakov.

What do we know about Aharon Pick’s family from Keidan (Kėdainiai)

There are many reasons why the name of Aharon Pick has long attracted our attention: He was born in Keidan, he was a self-made “man of letters;” he had an impressive professional career as a doctor in Šiauliai; he was active in the Šiauliai Jewish community, and in the last, tragic stage of his life, confined to the Šiauliai ghetto, he wrote a journal — one of the most important testimonies of the Holocaust in Lithuania.

Thanks to a recent discussion in the “Roots in Keidan” group on Facebook, we discovered new details about other members of this remarkable family. For this we owe much to Andrey Alexander Gorelkin, Anton Zimmerling, Ilya Shneyveys, and Yosef Shneider.

We hope to find more representatives of this family in the future, but meanwhile, here is a brief summary of what we currently know. (Note: Transliteration among various alphabets and spelling systems used by this family result in variant spellings of the name. In various sources it is shown as Pik, Pick, Pikas and Pieck. We here use Pick for consistency.)

David Hirsh Pick, a Keidan melamed, and his wife Chana Leah, a baker, had seven children. We know the names of six of them.

  • Aharon Leib Pick (born between 1872 and 1875; sources vary). His story is here.
    Aharon was married to Devorah (née Tatz, born 1899 in Raseiniai ). She survived past the liquidation of the Šiauliai ghetto but perished in the Nazi concentration camp at Stutthof in November 1944.Their son David (Tedik) Pick (1922-1975), escaped from the ghetto before its liquidation. He took an active part in building the new state of Israel, served in its army and was one of the founders of kibbutz Netzer Sereni (which started as “kibbutz Buchenwald”, since many of its members had been imprisoned at that concentration camp). Tedik lived there the rest of his life, with his wife Chaya (née Nudel), also a survivor of the Šiauliai ghetto, and their three children: Gitit, Aharoni and Deborah (in marriage Shatz).
  • Tsemach Uriel Pick (1882-1952). Aharon’s younger brother, studied medicine at the Tartu University (in a town then known as Yur’yev in Russian or Dorpat in German, today in Estonia). More about him here. Tsemach’s son, Ilya Pick, was born September 18, 1916 in Moscow. He joined the Red Army on July 8, 1941 and fought in its ranks until the end of the war. He was wounded twice, in 1943 and 1944, finishing the war with the rank of major and receiving a number of military awards. Later he was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and on December 11, 1952, left the army.

    Ilya Pick

    The proximity of this date to the date of his father’s passing (see above), at the peak of the antisemitic campaign in the USSR, when many Jews were dismissed from their positions and some were imprisoned or even killed, raises a big question. Ilya’s subsequent life is also unknown to us, other than that army records show he received a veteran’s war medal on April 6, 1985, indicating that he was still alive then. We are curious to know whether he had descendants, and where are they now.

  • Eugenia (Ginda Eide) Pik (1872-1950), married Israel Ptashkin (1869-1947), who was a teacher in Keidan and later in Šiauliai. He is the author of a beautifully written informative book (41 pages) about Keidan (“Местечко Кейданы” – “The Little Town of Keidany”), published in 1899, in Kovno (“permitted by censorship in Vilna on January 14, 1899.”)

    “The Town of Keidan” by I. Ptashkin

    This particular copy has a hand-written dedication by the author dated October 11, 1899, to “His Highness, Mr. Chairman of the Congress of the County Magistrates, Michail Michailovich Lukashov, for good memory.” The book was also included in a collection “Памятная книжка Ковенской губернии на 1899.” (“Kovno Province Commemorative Book, 1899”).
    The Russian original can be viewed online here.

    According to, Israel Ptashkin and Ginda Pick had four children – Dora, Lazar (d.1995), Maria (in marriage Kretschmer) and Avraham (d.1941). One of them, Dora Ptashkin (1902-1973), married Isaak Zimmerling (1890-1966). Isaak came from a well known family in Kazan, and was one of the organizers of heavy industry in the USSR. They lived in Moscow.
    Isaak and Dora had a son, Vladimir Zimmerling (1931-2017), an outstanding sculptor, who left Moscow to study in Riga with a famous sculptor, professor Theodor Zalkaln, a student of Auguste Rodin and Emile Bourdelle. (He stayed in Riga with the Ptashkins, his grandma’s cousins.)

    Vladimir Zimmerling

    When he graduated, he returned to Moscow. He also published works on philosophy, cultural history, aesthetics, literature and hermeneutics. He was a great master in reciting poetry. His artistic accomplishments can be seen here, here or here, and more details are available here. Since his passing, his art and philosophy has been studied with greater attention.

    Anton Zimmerlin

    Vladimir was married twice: First to Lucie Daugaviete (1926-2013), with whom he had a daughter, Mara (b. 1955), who made career as an artist. Then to Marga Silkina (1929-2017), with whom he had a son, Anton (b. 1964). Anton Zimmerling graduated from the Germanic department of Moscow State University. Today he is a leading researcher at the Pushkin State Russian Language Institute, founder of the Institute for Modern Linguistic Research, professor in the Moscow Pedagogical State University, a world-renowned specialist in Early German, Scandinavian, Icelandic and Gothic languages, their history and philology, comparative linguistics, semantic analysis, syntactic typology, etc., it’s difficult to name them all.

  • Raine Cherne Epshtein (Pik) (b.1862), married Yosef Mendel Epshtein (b.1859). Their children were: Liuba Epshtein (b.1897), Kusel Epshtein (b.1899), and Aizik Epshtein (b.1902).
    At least one of her children – Liuba (Libe) was born in Kėdainiai in 1897. She married Isaak Baron and passed away in Lithuania in 1982.
    Liuba had two daughters, Gita and Rivka.Gita Kinkulkin (Baron) (b.1920 in Vitebsk, Belarus), married Zelig Kinkulkin (b.1919), with whom she had a son Ariel (Lev) Keinan (Kinkulkin). Both Gita and Zelig passed away in 2011 in Israel. They are buried together at the Yarkon cemetery in Tel Aviv.Rivka Miliatiner (Baron) (b.1922 in Vitebsk, Belarus), married Arkady Miliatiner (1917). Arkady passed away in 1978 in Vilnius, while Rivka in 1990 came to Israel. She lived in Bat Yam, and after her death in 1991 was buried at the old Holon cemetery. Their only son, Isaak Miliatiner (b. 1947), married Mira Milatiner (Shtreicher) (b. 1949). In 1990 they both came to Israel. Their only daughter, Avital Dubinsky (Miliatiner) (b.1974 in Vilnius), came to Israel in 1990 with her parents. She is married to Ilya Dubinsky (1972).We have little information about two other branches of the family:
  • Feiga-Reize Likhtmakher (Pik) (1865-1907), married Yosel Yitzhak Likhtmakher (1861-1908). They both were born and passed away in Kėdainiai. It seems they had four children, all born in Kėdainiai:
    • Rive Likhtmakher (1888-1891), passed away at the age of 3
    • Grune Likhtmakher (b.1895)
    • Gabriel Likhtmakher (1897 – 1968) married Berthe Likhtmakher (née David) (1904-1974). They had a daughter, Rosine (née Likhtmakher), in marriage Tagliarino (1934 – 2011)
    • Nosel Likhtmakher (b.1899)
  • Rivka Pere Pik (b.1876 in Kėdainiai).

Anyone with additional information concerning Pick family is encouraged to share it.

About Andrew

Retired journalist, Keidan descendent.
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