Ida Straus (Rosalie Ida Blun)

Ida Straus

Rosalie Ida Blun was born in 1849 in Worms, Germany to Nathan Blun (1815–1879) and his wife Wilhelmine “Mindel” (née Freudenberg; 1814–1868). She was the fifth of seven children including Amanda (1839–1907), Elias Nathan (1842–1878), Louis (1843–1927), Augusta Carolina (1845–1905), Moritz (1850–1858) and Abraham Blun (1853–1881). She emigrated to the United States with her family. In 1871, Ida Blun married Isidor Straus (1845–1912), a German-American businessman. The couple was considered especially close by their friends and family; when Isidor traveled as part of his duties as a U.S. Representative for New York or as co-owner of Macy’s, they exchanged letters daily. Ida Straus spent the winter of 1911/1912 in Europe with her beloved husband Isidor. They originally planned to return home on a different ship, but switched to Titanic due to a coal strike in England that caused the coal from other ships to be diverted to Titanic. On the night of the sinking, Isidor and Ida Straus were seen standing near Lifeboat No. 8 in the company of Mrs. Straus’s maid, Ellen Bird. Although the officer in charge of the lifeboat was willing to allow the elderly couple to board the lifeboat with Miss Bird, Isidor Straus refused to go while there were women and children still remaining on the ship. He urged his wife to board, but she refused, saying, “We have lived together for many years. Where you go, I go.” Her words were witnessed by those already in Lifeboat No. 8 as well as many others who were on the boat deck at the time. Isidor and Ida were last seen standing arm in arm on the deck.

When the survivors of the disaster arrived in New York City aboard the RMS Carpathia, many, including Ellen Bird, told reporters of Mrs. Straus’s loyalty and fidelity to her husband. Her story struck a chord with people around the world. Rabbis spoke to their congregations about her sacrifice; articles in Yiddish and German-language newspapers extolled her courage; a popular song featuring the story of Ida Straus, “The Titanic’s Disaster”, became popular among Jewish-Americans. Although Isidor’s body was recovered, Ida’s body was not. A cenotaph at the Straus Mausoleum at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx is dedicated to Isidor and Ida together. Its inscription reads: “Many waters cannot quench love – neither can the floods drown it.” (Song of Solomon 8:7)

Born

  • February, 06, 1849
  • Worms, Germany

Died

  • April, 15, 1912
  • RMS Titanic, Atlantic Ocean

Cause of Death

  • Titanic disaster

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