Mrs Beila Moor

Beila Moor

Beile Moor (née Shapiro) was born within the Russian Empire (possibly Ukraine)1 on 20 May 1882. She was the daughter of Meier Shapiro and Adele Melamut. 

Other details about her background and early life are unclear. Family lore states that Moor was not Beile's true married name but rather an assumed one, adopted to hide the tracks of she and her son who fled Russia, possibly illegally, on account of pogroms against Jews and of the threat of her son who, when of age, would be forcibly conscripted into the Russian Army.  

Beile, a tailoress, had married to a man named Reuben, of whom little to nothing is known, and with him had a son, Meier, who was born on 15 November 1904. Around the same time Reuben reportedly died in the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War and sometime later Beile and her son began a flight from the Russian Empire, possibly initially spending time in London where Beile already had family. 

Their first attempt to resettle across the Atlantic was in 1911 when on 7 July that year in Antwerp they boarded the SS Montezuma of the Canadian Pacific Line. Travelling as third class passengers, Beile and her son were en route to an uncle, a merchant who lived in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. Arriving in Québec the pair were detained and apparently sent back across the Atlantic, for reasons unknown.

The pair did not return to Russia and instead stopped in London with other relatives. Whilst there it appears they made their home with a cousin, Russian-born tailor Mr Isaac Slater and his family who live at 95 Bedford Street, Whitechapel.

In a second bid to successfully traverse the Atlantic Beile and her son boarded the Titanic at Southampton as third class passengers (ticket number 392096 which cost £12, 9s, 6d). 

Beile and Meier Moor both managed to navigate their way to the upper decks and both survived the sinking, some historians placing them in lifeboat 14. Her recollection of the events were hazy, as The Call (20 April 1912) stated:

Mrs Beila Moor, who is a widow, her husband having been killed in the Russo-Japanese War, said that she felt the ship was going to be drowned and she grabbed her little boy and clung to him until shoved into a lifeboat. She said she did not remember boarding the lifeboat, and the only thing she remembered, she said, was the hysterics and fainting of the passengers when picked up aboard the Carpathia. 

Coming off the Carpathia in New York Beile was described as a tailoress and stated her destination as the home of the uncle and aunt Mr and Mrs H. Kaufman at 943 Randolph Street, Chicago. Before setting off for Chicago mother and son spent time recuperating in the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society on East Broadway, Manhattan. Whilst there they were the subjects of several famous photographs of survivors that were later printed in local newspapers at the time.

Third Class Survivors
Beile Moor (top centre) pictured with her son (second from right, bottom row) and other third-class survivors (New York Herald, 20 April 1912)

Beile and Meyer initially spent two years in Canada before crossing into the USA. In America Beile became known as Bella Moore and was remarried in Chicago on 11 January 1914 to Max Trayzohn (b. 1866). Trayzohn, a tailor, had also emigrated from Russia, he around 1888. They ran a dry goods store in Chicago but Bella was to become a widow on 7 October 1932. 

Bella then went to live with her son Meyer, initially in Chicago before they moved to El Paso, Texas in the late 1940s and where she lived for the rest of her life.

Bella died following a heart attack at the Hotel Dieu Hospital in El Paso on 29 January 1958 and was buried in the city's B'nai Zion Cemetery the following day.


  1. Her death record states that she was born in Romania. A 2014 Romanian article (Am avut doi supraviețuitori: Beila și Meyer, românii de pe pachebot!) states that Bella and her son were from the Moldavia region of Romania but later settled in Moscow. An family tree for Mrs Moor (which provides her parents names as Meier Shapiro and Adele Melamut) cites her birthplace as Novaya Ushytsia, Ukraine.


Beila Moor in 1953
El Paso Times  (1953) 
Beila Moor

Articles and Stories

Unidentified Newspaper (El Paso, Texas) 

Comment and discuss

  1. David Lawrence said:

    Need proof she was from Romania for exhibition information can anyone help also is there a picture of her.

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Gavin Bell, UK
Phillip Gowan, USA
Dana White, USA

References and Sources

Texas Department Of Health - Certificate Of Death #420125
Unknown Newspaper Obituary
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2019) Beila Moor (ref: #1036, last updated: 4th July 2019, accessed 4th July 2020 01:39:22 AM)