Ida Straus (February 6th, 1849 – April 15th, 1912) was an American homemaker and wife of the co-owner of the Macy's department store. She and her husband Isidor died in the sinking of the RMS Titanic. She was one of four women to die in First Class, the others being Edith Evans, Bess Allison, and Ann Isham.
Rosalie Ida Blun was born in 1849 in Worms, Germany to Nathan Blun (1815–1879) and his wife Wilhelmine "Mindel" 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. She and Isidor had seven children together:
- Jesse Isidor Straus (1872–1936) who married Irma Nathan (1877–1970)
- Clarence Elias Straus (1874–1876) who died in infancy
- Percy Selden Straus (1876–1944) who married Edith Abraham (1882–1957)
- Sara Straus (1878 –1960) who married Dr. Alfred Fabian Hess (1875–1933)
- Minnie Straus (1880–1940) who married Dr. Richard Weil (1876–1917)
- Herbert Nathan Straus (1881–1933) who married Therese Kuhn (1884–1977)
- Vivian Straus (1886–1974) who married Dr. Herbert Adolph Scheftel (1875–1914) and George Dixon, Jr. (1891–1956)
The couple was considered especially close by their friends and family; when Isidor was forced to travel as part of his duties as a U.S. Representative for New York or as co-owner of Macy's, they exchanged letters daily.
Isidor and Ida Straus traveled with their fifteen-year-old granddaughter Beatrice Straus to Europe in early 1912 aboard the HAPAG liner Amerika. The elder Strauses left their grandchild in Germany and, although they normally traveled aboard German ships only, fatally decided to make their return voyage to the United States on the newly commissioned RMS Titanic.
Death and legacy
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 so as long as 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 Straus were last seen alive on deck sitting on a pair of deck chairs holding hands when a huge wave washed them into the sea.
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 the Jewish community. 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.
Ida Straus's body was never recovered.
- Helen Van Tuyl (1953) (Titanic)
- Helen Misener (1958) (A Night to Remember)
- Nancy Nevinson (1979) (S.O.S. Titanic) (TV movie)
- Janie Woods-Morris (1996) (Titanic) (TV miniseries
- Elsa Raven (1997) (James Cameron's Titanic)
- Alma Cuervo (1997) (Titanic) (Broadway Musical) When Ida decided to stay with her husband, they sang the song "Still."
There are four memorials to Isidor and Ida Straus in their adopted home of New York City.
- A memorial plaque was located on the main floor of Macy's Department Store in Manhattan until approximately 2005 when it was returned to living Straus family members when the area was remodeled.
- The Isidor and Ida Straus Memorial is located in Straus Park at the intersection of Broadway and West End Avenue at W. 106th Street (Duke Ellington Boulevard) in Manhattan.
- New York City public school P.S. 198 in Manhattan is also named after the Strauses.
- Isidor Straus's remains were recovered by the CS Mackay-Bennett and were buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. His gravestone also serves as a cenotaph for his wife.Passengers of the Titanic
First Class Second Class Third Class
- Straus Memorial on Titanic-Titanic.com
- [Titanica] Biography of Ida Straus
- Straus article at JewishEncyclopedia.com
- Judaic Treasures of the Library of Congress – includes information on The Titanic's Disaster sheet music
- Straus Historical Society
- Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy, by John P. Eaton and Charles A. Haas, W.W. Newton & Company, 2nd edition 1995 ISBN 0-393-03697-9
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