Sunday, April 15, 2012

Heroes of the Titanic: Isidor and Ida Strauss

Isidor and Ida Strauss
Lawrence Auster of View From the Right is one of the few bloggers I know who remembered the Titanic today, 100 years to the day after the great ship sank.  He mentions the statue in New York that memorializes two of the brave:  Isidor and Ida Strauss.  This married couple were Jews from Georgia.  Isidor had volunteered for the Confederate Army at the outset of the Civil War, but was refused due to his young age of sixteen.  Later he became co-owner of Macy's Department Store with his brother.

The Strausses had been together since their marriage in 1871.  An officer of the Titanic offered a seat in a half-filled lifeboat to Isidor and Ida, but Isidor refused to go ahead of younger men than himself.  Ida opted to stay with him, and is reported as telling the officer:  "I will not be separated from my husband. As we have lived, so will we die, together."  Another account that I read in the book "A Night to Remember" says that Ida refused Isidor's plea for her to go into the lifeboat without him.  She said, "We have lived together for many years.  Where you go, I go."  Wikipedia says the couple was last seen sitting in deck chairs when they were washed overboard by a huge wave.

A ship called the Mackay-Bennett was sent to the location of the sinking to recover bodies, and Isidor's body was recovered.  Unfortunately, Ida's was not.

Isidor was buried in the Bronx, New York.  His tomb (and the Strauss statue in Strauss Park) can be viewed here.

The video clip (from James Cameron's movie "Titanic") below shows Isidor and Ida in their bed as their room fills with water.  This is fictional and does not line up with eye witness accounts of their demise.  However, I did enjoy the portrayal of Wallace Hartley's string quartet playing "Nearer My God to Thee" on the rapidly flooding deck.  Hartley's body was recovered and he was buried in his hometown in England.  More people attended his funeral than there were residents of the small town.

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