How Many People Died From The Titanic
How Many People Died From The Titanic – Isidore and his wife Ida Strauss were a Jewish family who tragically perished on April 15, 1912 aboard the Titanic, which sank in the North Atlantic after colliding with an iceberg. Titanic sailed from Southampton, England for the first and only time that day. The ship had nine decks with separate areas for first, second and third class passengers. About 2,200 people were on board on the ship’s maiden voyage.
Isidore, who was offered a place in the lifeboat with his wife, will not enter the lifeboats until all the women and children are in the lifeboats. His wife Ida reentered the ship to be with her husband, and both perished at sea.
How Many People Died From The Titanic
A beautiful oil painting by Isidore Strauss, painted in 1912, when the Titanic sank, is currently on display in the Bremen Museum’s Brazen History exhibition. www.thebreman.org
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AJT spoke with Strauss’ great-grandson Paul Kurtzman, former chairman of the Strauss Historical Society, social worker and dual tenured professor at Hunter College and the City University of New York Graduate Center.
I am the great-grandson of Isidore and Ida Strauss. The line begins with Isidore and Ida, who had seven children. One named Clarence died in infancy, leaving six children alive—three sons and three daughters: Jesse, Percy, Herbert, Sarah, Minnie and Vivian. I am descended from the eldest daughter of Sarah Strauss, who in marriage became Sarah Strauss Hess. I knew my grandmother very well. He died when he was only 22 years old.
I heard about my great grandfather, the story of Isidore and Ida, from my grandmother Sarah Strauss Hess. I was about 11-12 when I first learned about the Titanic. Every Sunday we went to dinner at my grandmother’s 12-room apartment on Park Avenue in Manhattan. If there were no guests of honor at those regular Sunday dinners where he receives diplomats and important people.
Then I sat with him in his library and asked him questions about his family and especially about his grandparents. My grandmother was widowed quite early as her husband Dr. Hess (who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine) died in the late 1950s. He lived in a large apartment with many attendants for only one person.
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The thought of the sinking of the ship caught my attention and I asked question after question. All the rich and famous crew members were waiting for the lifeboat. But Ida sat down, and Isidore said: “I will not go in until I see all the women and children on board the lifeboat, and then I will go to the lifeboat, and only then.”
Ida did something amazing. The third friend who helped people get into the lifeboat said: Strauss, we know who you are, the owner of the biggest department store, you are an old man (he was over 60 and that was a long life in 1912) and of course you can get into the lifeboat with your wife.”
He replied: “No, I don’t.” Then Ida got off the lifeboat and said she would stay with him and spoke the words from the book of Ruth in the Bible: “Where you go, I will go, and where you sleep, I will sleep. She said: “We had a wonderful time together with our lives, our children and grandchildren and we will not part. If you stay on board, I will also stay on board. Witnesses saw them approaching the starboard side of the ship, where they embraced, hand in hand, and then a big wave came and carried them to the sea, where they drowned.
Leaving the lifeboat, Ida removed her long mink coat and gave it to her personal maid, Miss Ellen Bird, saying, “I don’t need any more coats. I want it to keep you warm.” When Miss Bird was saved, she felt she could not keep the coat and traveled to New York to give it to Ida’s eldest daughter, my grandmother Sarah. She said, “Miss Bird, my mother gave you this coat and she wanted you to have this coat, so you must keep this coat for the rest of your life in memory of my mother.”
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Lifeboats found Isidore’s floating body and brought it back, but Ida’s body was never found as she died at sea. In Isidore’s vest, under his jacket, they found a medallion, a gold medallion with an onyx insert and two small photographs inside the medallion.
One of them showed their eldest son, Jesse Isidore, who was then the president of Macy’s and later became the ambassador to France and a great supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt. And on the other side of the pendant was a picture of my grandmother Sarah, his eldest daughter. This locket was given to the eldest daughter of Isidore and Ida, my grandmother, who believed that it had gone to her daughter, my mother, Eleonora, and after her death I received it because I had the greatest interest. The pendant is my greatest treasure. I can’t even put into words what this means to me. This is my connection to my grandparents, my great-grandparents, and also my heritage.
Many exhibitors have asked me to display the medallion, including when we celebrated our 100th anniversary in 2012. I never wanted to put it out there. In 2012, as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Historical Society, I gave many presentations across the United States.
I held the locket in my hand and showed it. It was too emotional to put aside. However, on behalf of the Strauss Historical Society, I intend to loan it for the first time to the Tennessee Titanic Museum, which later this year will host the first exhibit dedicated to the Jewish passengers on the Titanic. Those who lived and died, like Isidore and Ida. When I heard that, I was convinced. My son represents me and presents an important presentation about Jewish travelers.
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I thought the movie was wonderful, and the director, James Cameron, invited me and the descendants of two other survivors, Molly Brown and John Jacob Astor, to California to celebrate the 100th anniversary. He was very kind and made an anniversary film with National Geographic. I recognize this as a Hollywood film that is up for best film of the year.
Cameron is a brilliant director, he took a dozen divers on the Titanic. I have a lot of respect for him, but he has some leeway with the facts. When I mentioned this to him, he said: “It’s a director’s privilege, and I don’t pretend to be an American historian, but it’s a freedom I was entitled to.” He is very honest and this movie made him the top actors in Hollywood and one of the highest paid actors. In fact, more of my grandparents were judged and I got to see it. He showed me a record of everything that was true, but some of it didn’t make it into the film.
The couple gave their lives to save others. They had six children at home, all healthy, married, grandchildren, they had good health and had something to live for. They gave all they could live to die for principles, not only for Isidore, but also for Eastern principles. They die as they lived.
As a single reader and his family, think about what they can do in their lives to leave behind something better than what they found when they got here. May it be in a spirit that matches the principles of Judaism and the incredibly rich history of the Jewish people. What will they understand, how to leave behind a contribution that their family can be proud of. This Jewish phrase is very valuable. It is the highest religious expression and devotion to leave as a gift what they did not find when they arrived.
Rms Titanic (1909 1912)
For more information about the Straus Family Historical Society, visit: www.straushistoricalsociety.org. A beautiful oil painting by Isidore Strauss, painted in 1912, when the Titanic sank, is currently on display in the Bremen Museum’s Brazen History exhibition. www.thebreman.org
Visit the Pigeon Forge Titanic Museum exhibit dedicated to the Jewish passengers and crew. It is known that there were 69 Jews on board, of which 39 died. www.titanicpigeonforge.com The Royal Steamship (RMS) Titanic was built by the White Star Company based in Great Britain and owned by American tycoon J.P. Morgan. The Titanic met her fate on her maiden voyage to New York when she collided with an iceberg and sank two hours later in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912 in the North Atlantic. A total of 2
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