Mrs Leah Aks (née Rosen)

Leah Aks

Mrs Sam Aks (Leah Rosen), 18, was born in Warsaw, Poland [1] on 18 March 1894 [2], the daughter of Morris Rosen, who in 1912 lived at 25 Brunswick Street, London.

She boarded the Titanic at Southampton with her baby son Frank Philip Aks (ticket number 392091, £9 7s). Leah and "Filly" had left their home in London for 195 Chapel Street, Norfolk, Virginia where Leah's Husband Samuel, a tailor, was waiting for them.

On the night of the sinking Leah Aks was forced up to the boat deck she found herself next to Madeleine Astor. Upon seeing the baby Mrs Astor removed her shawl and wrapped it around him. Not long after as Leah stood on the deck clutching her baby son he was suddenly torn away from her and tossed into lifeboat 11 which was being prepared for lowering, as she struggled to retrieve him she was restrained by crewmen who thought she was trying to rush the boat. Filly was caught by Elizabeth Nye who sat him on her lap, later she wrapped him in a steamer blanket to keep him warm [3]. Meanwhile Leah, still in a state of shock, was pushed into lifeboat 13 next to Selena Rogers Cook.

(© Michael A. Findlay, USA)

After their rescue Leah and Selena were walking together on the deck of the Carpathia when an Italian woman (possibly Argene del Carlo) passed them holding a baby, Leah recognized Filly at once. She went to Captain Rostron and appealed to him to help her get her baby back, he took the two women to his room and asked each to provide proof of identity. Leah was able to describe a birthmark on Filly's chest and he was returned to her [4].

She was so grateful to Captain Rostron of the Carpathia for her rescue that the following yearly giving birth to her only daughter she named her Sarah Carpathia Aks. But the nuns at the hospital when filling out her birth certificate put down Sarah Titanic Aks!

The bitter cold she had endured in the lifeboat while awaiting her rescue had permanently damaged her eardrums and she suffered from a partial loss of hearing for the rest of her life. Mrs Aks died on 22 June 1967 and was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Norfolk, Virginia.

(© Michael A. Findlay, USA)

1.Listed as Russian.
2. Mrs Aks gave conflicting years for her birth during her lifetime - which might lead to the conclusion that she, like many other people, did not really know when she born. Leah Aks always claimed that she was 17 on the Titanic, but if she was born in 1894, she was 18. Two newspapers conducted lengthy interviews with her after the sinking. They reported that she was 21-years-old at the time (though she may have made herself older). The Board of Trade lists and the immigration reports also give ages between 17 and 21.
3. The shawl and blanket are now on display at the Mariners' Museum, Newport, Virginia
4. An alternative version of the story describes how it was the fact that Filly was Jewish was the critical factor in his identification. He had been circumcised!

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Judith Geller (1998) Titanic: Women and Children First. Haynes. ISBN 1 85260 594 4
List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer At Port Of Arrival (Date: 18th-19th June 1912, Ship: Carpathia) - National Archives, NWCTB 85 T715 Vol 4183
Names and Descriptions of Alien Passengers Embarked at the Port of Southampton, 10 April 1912 (PRO London, BT 27/780B).

Lyn Chaffin, USA
Michael A. Findlay, USA
Hermann Söldner, Germany

Articles and Stories

Baby Thought Lost Is Safe

Washington Post  (1912) 


Joyce A. Rosenfeld



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