Isidor Straus (February 6, 1845 – April 15, 1912), a German-American, was the co-owner of Macy's department store with his brother Nathan. He also served briefly as a member of the United States House of Representatives. He died with his wife, Ida, in the sinking of the passenger ship RMS Titanic.
Isidor Straus was born in Otterberg county of Kaiserslautern, Germany. He was the first of five children of Lazarus Straus (1809–1898) and his second wife Sara (1823–1876). His siblings were Hermine (1846–1922), Nathan (1848–1931), Jakob Otto (1849–1851) and Oscar Solomon Straus (1850–1926). In 1854 he and his family immigrated to the United States following his father Lazarus who immigrated two years before. They settled in Talbotton where Lazarus had opened a dry goods store.
Death on the TitanicEditTraveling back from a winter in Europe, mostly spent at Cap Martin in southern France, Isidor and his wife were passengers on the RMS Titanic when, on April 14, 1912, it hit an iceberg. Once it was clear Titanic was sinking, Ida refused to leave Isidor and would not get into a lifeboat. Although Isidor was offered a seat in a lifeboat too, he refused seating while there were still women and children aboard. Ida insisted her newly hired English maid, Ellen Bird, get into lifeboat #8. She gave Ellen her fur coat stating she would not be needing it. Ida is reported to have said, "I will not be separated from my husband. As we have lived, so will we die, together." Isidor and Ida were last seen alive on the deck holding hands before a large wave dragged them into the sea. Eyewitnesses described the scene as a "most remarkable exhibition of love and devotion." Both died as the ship sank.
Isidor Straus' body was recovered by the cable ship Mackay-Bennett and brought to Halifax, Nova Scotia where it was identified before being shipped to New York. He was first buried in the Straus-Kohns Mausoleum at Beth-El Cemetery in Brooklyn. His body was moved to the Straus Mausoleum in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx in 1928. Isidor and Ida are memorialised on a cenotaph outside the mausoleum, "Many waters cannot quench love - neither can the floods drown it."
The couple are also portrayed in the 1953 film, Titanic, and the 1958 film, A Night to Remember, in scenes that are faithful to the accounts described above. In the James Cameron's 1997 film, the Straus' are briefly depicted kissing and holding each other in their bed as their stateroom floods with water, along with a deleted scene showing Isidor (played by Lew Palter) attempting to persuade Ida (Elsa Raven) to enter the lifeboat to which she refuses.
- Isidor Straus on Wikipedia
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