Mr Louis Kappel 1 was a young steward born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary (modern-day Austria) on 23 July 1878, possibly into an Ashkenazi Jewish family.
Around 1904 to 1906 Kappel migrated and settled in Newark, New Jersey where he worked as an assistant head waiter at the Washington Restaurant in that city. Deciding to visit his mother in his native Vienna, instead of buying passage as a passenger, he secured a berth aboard the Carpathia as a steward, earning some money on his voyage back to his homeland.
Describing the events of the rescue, Kappel said that:
About 12.30 we were summoned to the saloon deck… We were told that the Titanic was in danger and distress. We were plowing ahead full speed. All the crew was busy preparing to give whatever assistance was possible.
About daybreak we sighted the first boat, with about twelve r thirteen men and women in it. The first to come over the side was a woman, seated in a sling. She was lifted in. “Too late!” she screamed. “Gone for hours!” Crying pitifully, she was carried into the saloon.
He described how many of the survivors were clad in just light clothing or pyjamas and slippers, many wet and half-frozen. He recalled Harold Bride being brought aboard, his legs so injured that he was unable to walk and “looking more like a corpse than a man, he was carried to the Marconi tower and stayed there working with our own operator until we reached New York.” He also stated how “Mrs Ninette Aubert [sic], of Paris, was nearly insane with grief. Her husband had been lost” whilst another woman being hauled up was only concerned about her pet dog being brought safely aboard, one steward making a threat to her that if she did not settle down that the ship’s butcher would see to her dog accordingly.
Kappel postponed his trip to Vienna following the disaster and remained in the USA where he was interviewed by the Newark Evening Star (published 20 April 1912).
He later seems to have worked his way across the Atlantic on other occasions, being listed aboard the Kaiser Wilhelm II in July 1912 and again in 1920.
Kappel later married and in 1930 was working on the Nieuw Amsterdam. He wife died in 1968 and it is believed he died before his wife, possibly in December 1963, they are buried together in the Rose garden at Crest Haven Memorial Park, Clifton, New Jersey.