Encyclopedia Titanica

Sāfiyah Ibrāhīm

Mrs Wassūf Ibrāhīm (Sāfiyah Hālūt-Mariyam, aka Sophie Abrahim) was born in Shwayhad, Syria on 10 February 1894.

She was the daughter of Ibrāhīm Hālūt and Mariyam Ibrāhīm but was orphaned whilst still young and went to live with her married sister in Ayn al-Rāhib. She was married at a young age to Wassūf Ibrāhīm Hālūt (Joseph Abrahim, b. 15 June 1887), also a native of her village, and the couple had a daughter Zakīyah, on 9 August 1908.

The couple decided to emigrate to Pennsylvania where Sāfiyah already had family, including two brothers. Sāfiyah and Wassūf, leaving their daughter in the care of family, continued onward to the USA where, at Ellis Island in New York, Sāfiyah was refused entry due to a contagious eye infection and was ordered to return to Syria. On the advice of relatives already in America she went to Trinidad and spent time there before trying to re-enter the USA in 1911. Again refused permission because of her eye condition she returned to Syria and in early 1912 again made plans to enter the USA. In the meantime Sāfiyah's husband Wassūf had settled in Greensburg, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania where he gained employment the Kelly & Jones iron and brass works.

Sāfiyah left Syria and travelled from Beirut to Marseille then on to Cherbourg where she boarded the Titanic as a third class passenger (ticket number 2657 which cost £7, 4s, 7d). She was destined for Greensburg, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania where her husband and other family were living.

On the night of the sinking Sāfiyah was in bed and, following the collision, left her cabin and joined scores of other confused steerage passengers who were wandering around the public areas waiting for instructions. She eventually found her way to the upper decks and was rescued (possibly in collapsible C) although contemporary newspaper interviews with her were highly embellished accounts, with details of passengers being shot, boats being overturned, etc. In later years she recalled that she witnessed the ship sliding beneath the sea and the lights going out, the cries of those left behind being a sound which still haunted her.

Upon arrival in New York Sāfiyah was taken to St Vincent's Hospital for recuperation and given monetary assistance and travel allowance to complete her journey to Greensburg, Pennsylvania. She reached Greensburg where her brother awaited her. Her husband Wassūf had reportedly been unaware that she was aboard Titanic.

To assimilate to their new home Wassūf and Sāfiyah Ibrāhīm became Joseph and Sophie Abraham and on 4 October 1913 they welcomed a son, Zackie Halaut. Their daughter Zakīyah had, in the meantime, married, becoming Mrs Nador and settled in Trinidad and raised a large family. She was reportedly not reunited with her parents until 1947 and she eventually died in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1994. Sophie would outlive both her husband and son Zackie who died in 1952 and 1975 respectively.

Sophie herself never cared much to discuss the Titanic disaster but did give a rare newspaper interview to the Greensburg-Herald Tribune on 14 April 1967.  She was a member of St Michael's Orthodox Church and the church's lady's guild.

Sophie Abraham died on 11 December 1976 aged 82 and is buried in Westmoreland County Memorial Park in Greensburg.

Notes

  1. Name anglicized as Ms Mary Sophie Halaut Easu Abrahim.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mrs Sāfiyah Ibrāhīm (Sophie Abraham) (née Hālūt-Mariyam)
Age: 18 years 2 months and 5 days (Female)
Nationality: Syrian Lebanese
Marital Status: Married to Wassūf Ibrāhīm Hālūt
Last Residence: in Ayn 'Arab, Syria
Embarked: Cherbourg on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 2657, £7 4s 7d
Rescued  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Saturday 11th December 1976 aged 82 years
Cause of Death:

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References and Sources

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Certificate of Death
Greensburg Herald Tribune (Pennsylvania) 22 April 1912
Greensburg Tribune-Review (Pennsylvania) 13 December 1976
Elias, Leila Saloum (2011) The Dream and Then the Nightmare: The Syrians who Boarded the Titanic, the Story of the Arabic-speaking Passengers. Atlas, 2011. ISBN 978-9933-9086-1-4

Newspaper Articles

Greensburg Herald Tribune (22 April 1912) YOUNG GREENSBURG WOMAN WAS PASSENGER ON ILL-FATED SHIP
North American (3 May 1912) TITANIC DISASTER PROVES AID TO WOMAN
Greensburg Tribune-Review (13 December 1976) SURVIVOR OF TITANIC SUCCUMBS
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Comment and discuss

  1. SydneyWhitfield

    SydneyWhitfield said:

    OMG..... that is so sad and touching......... i wish the titanic would have never crashed

  2. Janasia_bizzell

    Janasia_bizzell said:

    This lady died several years later i am doing a project on this lady so cool.

 Reply  Watch Thread

Credits

Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Phillip Gowan, USA
Leila Salloum Elias, USA

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2017) Sāfiyah Ibrāhīm (ref: #617, last updated: 10th August 2017, accessed 29th November 2021 04:14:30 AM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/mary-sophie-abrahim.html