WAS SECOND CLASS PASSENGER ABOARD THE DOOMED TITANIC
HER FIRST WARNING OF DANGER CAME FROM HER SWEETHEART
HER STORY OF THE TRAGEDY AS TOLD TO THE REPUBLIC
SPENT SIX HOURS ON THE ATLANTIC IN OPEN BOAT BEFORE RESCUE CAME
IS SUFFERING FROM SHOCK, WILL RETURN AFTER REST HERE.
Having lost her brother and sweetheart and herself barely escaped death, Miss Dagmar Bryhl, the Rockford bound survivor from the mid-ocean tragedy of the Titanic, reached this city 6:30 o'clock this morning in company with her uncle, Oscar R. Lustig, and is now resting at his home at 502 Pearl Street.
Thus is ended what was to have been a summer visit of Miss Bryhl, her brother, Kurt Bryhl and her affianced sweetheart Ingvar Enander, to Rockford relatives, and from gloom has been cast over a number of families in this city to whom the brother and sister are related.
The arrival of Mr. Lustig and his niece has been anxiously awaited. They reached here much later than was expected but this was due to Miss Bryhl's condition. Although she is reported to be gaining composure, she still is said to be feeble, and her uncle positively refused everyone permission to see her this morning.
"Poor Dagmar!" exclaimed Mr. Lustig, the tears welling into his eyes as he spoke to a Republic reporter. "You cannot must not see her now. Nobody knows what the poor girl went through. Her nerves are all a-tremble ____ and I am afraid it will be sometimes before those awful hours will be effaced from her mind. I have not asked her a thing about it myself, but sometimes she would sit with her chin on her hand, brooding, and then she would tell me snatches of her terrible experiences."
Mr. Lustig and his niece left New York Tuesday evening about 6 o'clock and arrived in Chicago last night. He was anxious to get back to Rockford and went to Rochelle hoping to get an early accommodation train out of there. They passed the night in Rochelle and the constant traveling so wore out Miss Bryhl's strength that she was put to bed as soon as she reached her uncles' home here.
While the reporters were not permitted to talk with Miss Bryhl today her uncle who is a well educated man, told the account that his niece has given him from time to time since he met her in New York last Saturday.
"Dagmar and her brother, Kurt, and her sweetheart, Ingvar Enander, left their home in Skara, in Sweden, April 3. They all sailed second class, and none of them had any intentions of remaining in Rockford. It was simply to be a visit, although it might have happened that Kurt would have remained. Enander had taken a course in agriculture and expected to continue his studies and observations here.
"Dagmar told me that on the Sunday evening when the Titanic hit the iceberg the weather was quite balmy. Several hours before the crash came Dagmar says that she was on deck wearing a light summer dress. She says it was a wonderfully bright night. About 9 o'clock or so, however, the air recommended to be chilly and soon it was positively cold.
"It was so cold," said Dagmar that I went after my coat and everybody else did. Finally it became almost too cold for the deck. The coldness, of course, indicated we were in the region of the icebergs and that warning it seems the ship's officers should have taken.
The story of the crash and the subsequent happenings Mr. Lustig says his niece has told him substantially as follows:
"I was in my berth when the Titantic hit the berg. I noticed the jar and soon I heard Ingvar knocking on the door of my cabin, "Get up, Dagmar," he said. "The ship has hit something." I put on a skirt and a coat as quickly as possible and hurried up to the deck. But the officers said, "go back, there is no danger; you go to your cabins."
"I returned to my berth and went back to bed. I had not laid very long before there was more knocking on my door and Ingvar was yelling, "Get up, Dagmar, we are in danger. I don't care what the ship's officers (continued on page 10 of the Rockford Republic) say, I tell you we are in danger of our lives. The boat is sinking."
"Again I flung on my skirt and coat and ran up. Someone said we had hit an iceberg. The screaming and yelling was awful. They were putting women and children into the boats and lowered them into the sea. Men and women were kissing each other farewells. Ingvar and Kurt led me to a boat and Ingvar lifted me into it. I seized his hands and wouldn't let go. "Come with me!" I screamed as loud as I could and still holding his hands tight. There was room in the boat. It was only half-filled, but a officer ran forward and clubbed back Ingvar. This officer tore our hands apart and the lifeboat was let down. As it went down I looked up. There, learning over the rail, stood Kurt and Ingvar side by side. I screamed to them again, but it was no use. They waved their hands and smiled. That was the last glimpse I had of them.
"The men that rowed our boat pushed away from the Titantic. The air was very cold and we all shivered. They rowed us around and we saw the great ship sink. Then came more dreadful screams. The water filled with crying people. Some of them climbed in our boat and so saved their lives.
"We were out in the life boat from 11 o'clock Sunday night until 6 o'clock Monday morning, when the Carpathia came. Seven hours without any clothing thick enough to protect me from the stinging cold benumbed my limbs. Oh, I can't ever tell the thoughts that came to me out there. The sea was so still and clear as a mirror, it seemed, and over us was a clear and cloudless sky."
When Miss Bryhl was taken aboard the Carpathia with the other survivors, her plight attracted the sympathy of a wealthy Jewish woman from New Your. This kind-hearted woman's generosity, however, gave Mr. Lustig some hours of anxiety when he reached New York. Miss Bryhl's benefactor took her in charge and, instead of registering her with the relief committee in New Your, walked her down the gang-plank, placed her in an automobile and hurried her to the Hospital for Deformities and Joint Diseases, a charitable institution at 1915 Madison Ave., which is supported by Jewish philanthropists. The result was, although the Carpathia 's survivor list included Miss Bryhl's name, no one could tell her uncle where he would find his niece. Miss Bryhl wrote to Mr. Lustig the morning after reaching the hospital, supposing that he was still in Rockford, but it was not until his relatives here telegraphed him the address at which the girl was stopping that he came in communication with her.
The uncle had left Rockford as soon as the full details of the wreck and the rescue of his niece was reported. He intended to be on hand when she arrived and to take her in charge, and does not feel in the least satisfied with the treatment accorded him by some of the White Star Line officials.
He says he was met with icy looks and chilly courtesy at the steamship office. No one seemed to know anything. The manager refused to talk with him. The Mr. Lustig threatened to go to the newspaper offices and tell the press about the treatment he was receiving and he says that the effect of this threat was electrical. "Even the manager then had time to see him.
Mr. Lustig did go to the New York Tribune office after he had failed to get any information at the Scandinavian Emigrant Home or at the Swedish consul: A reporter told him of having seen a Swedish girl, who had lost two brothers and who spoke French leave for Montreal with a French family and as his niece speaks French Mr. Lustig feared Miss Bryhl had left for Montreal. He prepared a telegram to the Montreal Gazette, asking that newspaper to try to intercept the girl and was on the point of sending it when he learned that his niece was at the hospital on Madison Avenue.
For the officials at the hospital Mr. Lustig has the highest praise. His niece was attended by Dr. Henry W. Frauenthal, who himself had relatives lost in the wreck, and Maurice Rothschild, a director of the hospital and a millionaire, interested himself in the Swedish girl's case. Mr. Rothschild took Mr. Lustig and Miss Bryhl to see the Stock Exchange in action and showed them many other marks of attention and gave them his address and asked that he be informed when the girl reached her destination.
Miss Bryhl, according to her uncle, has again and again declared between hysterical sobs, that if she had thought that her brother and her sweetheart would be lost that she would never have allowed them to put her in the life-boat. She says that she would rather have died with them when the great ship settled into the deeps that to live with the memory of all that took place graven into her mind for all the subsequent days to come.
"Poor father," she has said several times to her uncle, "It is for him I weep! This blow falls heaviest on him over there in Sweden."
Among the first of her relatives to call at the Lustig home this morning was her aunt, Mrs. Charles Lindstedt, 2020 Charles Street, who could not staunch her tears.
"The poor child," cried Mrs. Lindstedt. "How shall I ever be able to meet her! This is dreadful."
Mrs. Lindstedt told Mr. Lustig her brother, of the cablegram received here a few days ago from Miss Bryhl's father, asking that the girl be sent home immediately. This both agreed to be impossible. Miss Bryhl will rest here for some time, and a letter will be written to her father asking him to come to America and take her back. It is not certain how long Miss Bryhl will remain in Rockford, but she will probably be here several months.
Miss Bryhl is 20 years of age and the daughter of Gottfried Lustig, an important official and resident of Skara. She is excellently educated and can speak French and German fluently and can write English and make herself understood in that language. The mother is also alive. She has four sisters, Mrs. Ringman __ Goteborg and Lily, Jane and Alice. There are three brothers, Ragnar, Arthur and Gunnar, all living at Skara. Kurt, who was lost, had taken his matriculation examination for Uppsala University, but then heard the call of the sea, and for several years has was a seaman. He had been around the world and lived for a time in Paris. He is said to have been a care-free young man who had seen much and who was preparing to settle down and put his wide experience to use in the calmer affairs of life.
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(1912) TITANIC'S SURVIVOR COMES TO ROCKFORDRockford Republic (ref: #1815, accessed 17th April 2014 12:22:59 PM)
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Added to Encyclopedia Titanica Friday 21st November 2003, last updated Thursday 17th April 2014.