Eva Miriam Hart (January 31st, 1905 - February 14th, 1996) was a Second Class passenger of the Titanic, traveling along with her parents, Benjamin and Esther Hart. They used Ticket 13529. While Eva and Esther survived the sinking, her father did not.
Eva was one of the last survivors with memories of the Titanic.
Eva was born on January 31st, 1905 in Ilford, London, England to Benjamin and Esther Hart. In early 1912, Benjamin decided to take his family and immigrate to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he planned to open a drug store.
Eva was seven years old when she and her parents boarded the Titanic as second class passenger.
- "We went on the day on the boat train... I was 7, I had never seen a ship before... it looked very big...everybody was very excited, we went down to the cabin and that's when my mother said to my father that she had made up her mind quite firmly that she would not go to bed in that ship, she would sit up at night... she decided that she wouldn't go to bed at night, and she didn't!"
Throughout the voyage Esther was troubled by a fear that some kind of catastrophe would hit the ship. To call a ship unsinkable was, in her mind, flying in the face of God.
- "My father was so excited about it and my mother was so upset... The first time in my life I saw her crying... she was so desperately unhappy about the prospect of going, she had this premonition, a most unusual thing for her... "
Eva was sleeping when the Titanic struck the iceberg. Benjamin rushed into her cabin to alert her and Esther, and after wrapping her in a blanket, carried her to the boat deck. He placed her and Esther in Boat #14 and told her to "hold Mommy's hand and be a good girl." It was the last time she would ever see him.
- "I saw that ship sink, I never closed my eyes. I didn't sleep at all. I saw it, I heard it, and nobody could possibly forget it. I can remember the colors, the sounds, everything. The worst thing I can remember are the screams. It seemed as if once everybody had gone, drowned, finished, the whole world was standing still. There was nothing, just this deathly, terrible silence in the dark night with the stars overhead."
Eva and Esther were rescued up by the RMS Carpathia and arrived in New York City on April 18th. Soon after, they returned to England and Esther remarried. Eva was plagued with nightmares and upon the death of Esther when she was 23, she confronted her fears head on by returning to the sea and locking herself in a cabin for four straight days until the nightmares went away.
Eva was one of the most outspoken survivors concerning the Titanic's lack of sufficient lifeboats and of any salvage attempts of the Titanic after its discovery in 1985. She commonly criticised the White Star Line for failing to provide enough lifeboats for all aboard the Titanic.
- "If a ship is torpedoed, that's war. If it strikes a rock in a storm, that's nature. But just to die because there weren't enough lifeboats, that's ridiculous."
After the Titanic
When salvaging efforts began in 1987, Eva was quick to note that the Titanic was a grave site and should be treated as such. She often decried the "insensitivity and greed" and labeled the salvers "fortune hunters, vultures, pirates, and grave robbers."
Eva was largely vocal in numerous interviews about the ship having broken in half, a hotly debated rumor that was later proven to be true after the discovery of the wreck site. She was also adamant regarding the controversy surrounding the SS Californian, a ship that was only a few miles from the Titanic which failed to respond to distress rockets and calls for help. She claimed the vessel was less than ten miles from Titanic, not nineteen as was previously believed.
- "I saw that ship (the Californian). It was terribly close... I didn't see a ship nineteen miles away. I saw a ship that was so close; and they said at the time it was less than nine miles away, [and yet] now they're trying to say it was nineteen... I saw it you know, and it wasn't just 'lights on the horizon' – you could see it was a ship. And I saw our rockets being fired, which that ship must have seen. Well this inquiry says that they did see it but they didn't think it was a portent of danger. I would have thought in the middle of the Atlantic in the middle of the night that rockets must mean trouble."
Eva maintained very active in Titanic-related activities well into her 80s. In 1982, she returned to the United States and joined several other survivors at a Titanic Historical Society convention commemorating the 70th anniversary of the sinking. She participated in three more conventions in 1987, 1988, and in 1992. In 1994, she wrote an autobiography, Shadow of the Titanic - A Survivor's Story, in which she described her experiences aboard the ship and the lasting implications of its sinking. On April 15th, 1995; the 83rd anniversary of the disaster, she and fellow second class Titanic survivor Edith Eileen Haisman, dedicated a memorial garden plaque on the grounds of the National Maritime Museum in London.