I'm almost positive Michel *doesn't* have a web presence, and there's not a great deal of information around on him online (other than here). I'm aware of this because I did some web searching a couple months ago, trying to turn up related information for another thread.
But(!), if you're interested, I'd strongly recommened you do an AltaVista/HotBot type search anyway, because during my quest I came across a web page that discussed a forthcoming biography(?) of Michel! Actually, I think it was his autobiography, but I just don't remember clearly. Unfortunately, I didn't keep a reference to it, but I believe the web page claimed some time in 2001 as the release date.
Hint: If you search for "Michel Navratil" on an engine that allows "exact phrase" searches, this should reduce your browsing time tremendously. (I don't recall getting very many hits at all on that one.)
Tracy- Mr. Navratil does not speak English at all, nor does his son Henri who is a urologist in
Grable- Mr. Navratil is in a senior -living environment now I understand. When he traveled on the Ocean Breeze during the 96 expedition, his doctor came along. He is still fairly active physically. He was a very distinguished scholar and philosopher in his heyday- extremely well-read and articulate. His library was one of his great loves. Of Titanic, he remembers observing the horizon through the diningroom window, and his father leaning over him in the lifeboat telling the brothers to give his "amities" or fond remembrances to their mother for him. He met Peggy Starbuck, daughter of Miss Hays who kept the two little boys in New York until their mother could be found. Miss Hays married Dr. Easton of Newport, RI. She is buried there in St. Mary's cemetery, Portsmouth. We took him to the Jewish cemetery in Halifax to see his father's grave in 1996- he was much moved by this visit. As you know, his father was traveling under an assumed name of Hoffman which led the authorities to believe he was Jewish. Michel likes his red wine everyday, and musing over the past- charming gentleman- very French!
There is an out-of-print book on this subject.
I got it from the Barnes and Noble on line thingy in the out of print section for about $17 US. (double that for Aussie dollars)
It is called "A Rainbow of Time and of Space"
It was published by the Aztex Corporation in Arizona. I actually contacted them and they only publish "hot-rod" car magazines now!! But they said it was of special interest to the publisher so they went ahead with it. It turns out that the Writer Sidney F Tyler was a friend of the Navratil boys during their few weeks in the US after the sinking.
It's a wonderful story and is mostly about Michel.
Bye for now,
I was saved from the wreck of the Titanic where my father met his death- the memory of it is very clear. My father was 32 years old, my brother Louis had just turned 2, I , myself, had just attained the age of 4. My mother lived in Nice, which up until then, had been our place of residence. The night of the sinking, in the middle of the night, in the cabin where my brother and I were sleeping on small cots (little beds) , my Father woke us both up. I can still see him standing near the foot of the bed; accompanied by a man I did not know- no doubt a fellow passenger needing help himself. My Father took me in his arms, his companion held my brother in the same manner and took us up to the ship's boat deck and put us in a lifeboat. Some women were already seated in it. At that moment he gave me the responsibility of delivering a message of his love and affection to my mother. Then he said goodbye. Naturally, at the time I did not believe he was going to die. I can still hear the sound the lifeboat made as it inched down the side of the ship and smacked the sea below. I also remember pulling away from the ship into the dark black night. I fell asleep very quickly. I awoke at dawn to a white sea and saw in the distance a steamer- it was the Carpathia. My last memory was being hauled up the side in a sack to the deck. I do not remember what followed- only what has been told to me.
(I will get the remainder a little later- got a meeting! /Shell)
What a fantastic achievement! - within an hour of Andrew's excellent link, you've put up the vital translation - I was having great difficulty with it, and just gave up on the French and returned to ET. Well done!
They work but, unlike Shelley, cannot take into account context and the like. For example, the final sentence from the Michel Navratil website reads as follows direct from the translator:
Us, my brother, my sister and me, soaps that Titanic played a fundamental role in the construction of its personality. To be so early confronted with a tragedy gave him an immense force of life. My father was always a Master of the events ".
Honestly! "Us....soaps that Titanic played a fundamental role..." Perhaps we'd be better off waiting for Shelley!
(Continued) A young American girl, Miss Hayes, who was saved in the same lifeboat as we, took care of me and my brother up until our arrival in the United States. Aboard Carpathia, she made the acquaintance of Mme. Wittmer who had lost her husband and oldest son in the sinking. Mme. Wittmer told her that as her niece, Mrs. Tyler, could speak French and loved France so much, it seemed to her an ideal situation that we would be taken in by Mrs. Tyler who lived outside Philadelphia. The rescue aid mission in New York decided in the end, to entrust us to her (Mrs. Tyler) who gathered us up as tenderly as if we were her own children. It was at her home that my mother came to seek us, and she took us back to Nice. I was able to give her the last affectionate sentiments from my Father. I will never forget all I owe my father and mother. I also will never forget my debt to my American friends who took care of me and my brother.
(This interview was taped and filmed at the Maritime Museum du Palais de Chaillot in Paris, October 6, 1982. Also CHILDREN of THE TITANIC, written by his daughter, Elisabeth Bouillon is well worth a look)
Bulletin- French Press Agency Jan. 31, 2001
Dead- Professor Michel Navratil, Philosopher and survivor of the Titanic.
Philosopher, Honorary Professor of psychology at the University of Montpellier, survivor of the Titanic, died Tuesday of cardiac arrest in his 93rd year, his daughter announced on Wednesday. Born in Nice on July 12, 1908, he had left with his father and brother aboard Titanic under a false name as his parents were in the process of separation. The boys and their father were going to join some family members already living in the United States. After their father's death in the sinking, the two children, Lolo and Momon, stayed in the United States for 3 weeks with a young lady who took charge of them in the lifeboat until they could be identified. The children's photo was circulated around the world- their mother, living in Nice, recognized her sons. She went to some great trouble to produce the proof of her claim as parent. She went to find them and bring them back to France. The young survivor went on to school in 1928, and in 1934 specialized in studies in the field of Philosophy. He wrote his thesis on "Constitutive Tendencies of Living Thought" ,and according to his daughter, the death experienced in his young life had great influence on his life and career. When he spoke of the wreck he remembered that their father came to find them, put them in a lifeboat- "We were entrusted to a beautiful American lady I believe we had passed walking by. I remember the splash of the boat as it hit the sea. I fell asleep in the lifeboat. I awoke at dawn- our boat turned its back to the icebergs-I could not see them. On Carpathia, the ship that saved us, I only remember my upset stomach." This was recounted in an interview in 1996
(continued)The father, Michel Navratil, is interred in Halifax under his false name of Hoffman. Momon died at age 40. The philosopher was married, according to his daughter, "and was a lively epicurean! He could adapt himself to any situation, she said, always incorporating his own special philosophical world. We, my brother, sister and I, know that Titanic played a fundamental role in the formation of his personality. After having confronted such a tragedy at such a young age, it gave him an immense zest for living. My father was always his own Master."
Paul and Robert- no great achievement- just years at teaching French! It has been a wonderful key to amazing adventures, both in working for the artifact recovery team, and in meeting and assisting Michel for 10 years. Once he told me he could remember sitting in the diningroom on Titanic- and seeing the horizon out a window. -Two things I will treasure for my lifetime, one was introducing Michel to Peg Starbuck, Miss Hayes' (Mrs. Easton)daughter, and arranging to take Michel to Mass, then to visit his father's grave with a priest for the only time in Halifax in 1996. I have recounted that day in detail elsewhere on this board -but I cannot tell you what it was to see him fall to his knees on his father's grave- I heard him say "Papa" softly. I will never forget it. He was a lovely man- so brilliant, with a wry humor, appreciation for life, good conversation, fine wine, dancing, and beauty. I can scarcely believe he is really gone from our midst.
Thanks seems a small word for such a loving tribute. I know how sweet (and amusing!) your friendship was with Michel Navratil Jr. and how his passing saddened you.
Of all the people who sailed on Titanic - 90 years ago exactly as of next week - none have captivated us half as much as Michel Navratil and his sons, a heartbroken father recklessly fleeing a shattered marriage with his little boys, only to lose his own life for his haste. It is a story that touched the world in 1912 and still touches us today.
Thank you for helping Michel Jr. to be reunited with the family who cared for him and his brother after the disaster that claimed their father and for being there to comfort him when he visited for the first time the grave of his "Papa" where he made peace with him at last.
Shell, it seems you are always where you are needed. You are always ready to lend a helping hand, to give encouragement, to show love and spread joy. May God bless you for what you have done over the years, whether it was looking after Mrs. Robb, Mr. Drew and M. Navratil, or most recently, arranging a memorable and affecting salute to Walter Lord.
I think TI or one of the Titanic societies should consider instituting a Humanitarian Award to recognize those who contribute selflessly to the cause of education in this genre of history - people like George Tulloch and our own Phil Hind. But the very first person to receive such an award should be you.