Jakob Birnbaum - Titanic First Class Passenger
Mr Jakob Birnbaum was a 24 year old, Jewish, Polish, first class passenger traveling aboard Titanic alone. He boarded Titanic at Cherbourg, France on Wednesday 10th April 1912.
Jakob Birnbaum, who was the son of Joachim and Theophilia Birnbaum, was born on Tuesday 24th May 1887 in Krakow, Poland. By April 1912, he was working for his familyís Diamond trading business; as a result he was living at least part of the time in San Francisco, California.
For business reasons in early 1912, he returned home from San Francisco to his family, who were living in Antwerp, Belgium. Originally he was going to return to San Francisco before 10th April, but his family had persuaded him to remain with them for the Jewish holiday of Passover.
Just before Titanicís maiden voyage there was a coal strike in Britain which was pushing for a national minerís minimum wage (something they did end up getting). The coal strike caused coal shortages which, amongst other things, caused shipís voyages to be cancelled; Jakob Birnbaum was one of the people affected by the shortage, as his voyage was cancelled and he sailed on Titanic instead.
Jakob Birnbaum did not survive the sinking of Titanic. Immediately after the disaster the White Star Line charted the ship Mackay-Bennett to search for the bodies of Titanicís victims. His body was found, wearing a grey overcoat and blue pyjamas. His body was sent home to his father on a Red Star line ship in early May 1912.
Jakob Birnbaum was buried at a Jewish cemetery in Putte, Netherlands, which is near the Dutch border.
Jakob Birnbaumís watch, which he was wearing at the time of his death, was donated to and is on display at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, UK. It was restored by his family and later handed to the museum.