Great-grandson of elderly 'Titanic' couple shares story

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Great-grandson of elderly 'Titanic' couple shares story

Postby Andrew Clarkson » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:16 am

Director James Cameron may have taken artistic liberties with his depiction of Isidor and Ida Straus, the elderly couple who held each other as the ship sank, in his 1997 blockbuster "Titanic" — which celebrates its 20th anniversary this week — but he got the gist of their story right.

The Strauses did have an unbreakable bond, and they really did choose to die together on that fateful 1912 night when then the RMS Titanic sunk in the North Atlantic Ocean after hitting an iceberg.

The real story of how the wealthy couple — 67-year-old Isidor Straus was the co-owner of Macy's department store and a former U.S. Congress member— chose to remain aboard the doomed ship so that others may live is one their great-grandson Paul A. Kurzman knows well.

As the Titanic began sinking into the freezing ocean, women and children were ushered into lifeboats, as was the unwritten law of the sea. But Ida, who was 63, gave up her chance at safety to stay behind with her husband of 40 years, said Kurzman, a social worker and a professor with a dual appointment at Hunter College and at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York.

"My great-grandmother Ida stepped into the lifeboat expecting that her husband would follow. When he didn’t follow, she was very concerned and the ship’s officer in charge of lowering that particular lifeboat said, 'Well, Mr. Straus, you’re an elderly man…and we all know who you are....Of course you can enter the lifeboat with your wife,'" Kurzman told TODAY.

"And, my great-grandfather said, 'No. Until I see that every woman and child on board this ship is in a lifeboat, I will not enter into a lifeboat myself.'"

Read more; ... ry-t120095
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