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Ida Straus
Straus with her husband Isidor
Born
Rosalie Ida Blun

(1849-02-06)February 6, 1849
Worms, Germany
DiedApril 15, 1912(1912-04-15) (aged 63)
Spouse(s)Isidor Straus (1871–1912)
ChildrenJesse Isidor Straus
Clarence Elias Straus
Percy Seldon Straus
Sara (Straus) Hess
Minnie (Straus) Weil
Hebert Nathan Straus
Vivian (Straus) Dixon
RelativesKing Princess (great-great-grandchild)

Rosalie Ida Straus (née Blun; February 6, 1849 – April 15, 1912) was an American homemaker and wife of the co-owner of the Macy's department store. She and her husband, Isidor, died on board the RMS Titanic.[1]

Early life

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.[when?]

In 1871, Ida Blun married Isidor Straus (1845–1912), a German-Jewish American businessman. She and Isidor had seven children:

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 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.

Death and legacy

Isidor and Ida Strauss statues being blessed by an angel, "Victims of the Ship Titanic", Yiddish penny song
The Titanic's Disaster, published in 1912

On the night of the sinking, Isidor and Ida 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."[2] (Song of Solomon 8:7) The work was designed by James Gamble Rogers, with sculpture by Lee Lawrie.[3]

Portrayals

Ida Straus was portrayed by Helen Van Tuyl in the 1953 film Titanic. Helen Misener played her in the 1958 film A Night to Remember. She was portrayed by Nancy Nevinson in the 1979 TV movie S.O.S. Titanic. Janie Woods-Morris played her in the 1996 miniseries Titanic. She was portrayed by Elsa Raven in the 1997 film Titanic. Alma Cuervo played her in the 1997 Broadway musical Titanic. When Ida decided to stay with her husband Isidor, they sang the song "Still".

Memorials

106th Street memorial, Straus Park
106th Street memorial, Straus Park

In addition to the cenotaph at Woodlawn Cemetery, there are three other memorials to Isidor and Ida Straus in their adopted home of New York City:

References

  1. ^ "NOTED MEN ON THE LOST TITANIC; Col. Jacob Astor, with His Wife; Isidor Straus and Wife, and Benj. Guggenheim Aboard". The New York Times. April 16, 1912. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 26, 2022.
  2. ^ "Many Waters Cannot Quench Love"
  3. ^ Harm, Gregory Paul, Lee Lawrie's Prairie Deco: History in Stone at the Nebraska State Capitol, Concierge Marketing, Omaha, NE, 2018 p. 56