As the water comes rushing into their cabin, the husband squeezes his distressed wife’s hand and kisses her. They know they’re going to die together. “Nearer My God To Thee” is playing on the violin. It’s heartbreaking.
Well, that couple is based on a real couple, Isidor and Ida Straus.
Isidor and Ida, who had seven children, had been married for more than 40 years. They were devoted to each other. When they were apart, they would write to each other every day.
Isidor was co-owner of the famous Macy’s department store, along with his brother Nathan. He had also been a congressman.
The Strauses were taking the Titanic home to New York in 1912, after spending the winter in the south of France, for the sake of Ida’s health. They’d planned to take the Olympic home, but it was delayed due to a coal strike, so they switched ships. They had their servants, John Farthing and Ellen Bird, travelling in first class with them.
Being among the richest passengers on board the Titanic, they had a luxurious suite. Director James Cameron used their suite as a model for Rose’s rooms.
After the Titanic hit an iceberg and it became clear the ship was going to sink, people started filling lifeboats. Being a woman and a first-class passenger, Ida was quickly offered a seat. But she refused to get in without her husband. Isidor’s friend, Colonel Archibald Gracie IV, offered to get them a place on a lifeboat together, but Isidor didn’t want special treatment.
“I will not go before the other men,” he told Colonel Gracie.
Ida ignored everyone who tried to persuade her to get in.
“We have been living together for many years,” she said to her husband and anyone else who was listening. “Wherever you go, I go.”