Encyclopedia Titanica

Aaron Willer

Aaron Willer
Aaron Willer

Mr Aaron 1 "Abe" Willer was born around 1875 somewhere in the Russian Empire, ostensibly Ukraine. He was the son of Mendil Willer and Gertrude Sussman.

He may have arrived in Britain in the late 1890s or early 1900s where he worked as a tailor and was married to Ukrainian-born Bessie Suskin (b. 20 October 1868 in Odessa). The couple went on to raise a family of four sons, with Bessie having had a daughter from a previous relationship, Annette (1890-1971).

Their first three children were born in London: Gabriel George (1902-1979), Goodman Howard (1905-1990) and Davis "David" (1906-1982). The family later emigrated, departing on 6 March 1907 aboard the Friesland, bound for the port of Philadelphia, settling in that city for a time. Whilst there another child was born, Maurice R. (1908-1974). The whole family later shifted and resettled in Chicago, Illinois sometime after, later living at 1332 North Leavitt Street in the city.  

Aaron reportedly returned to Europe and worked as a tailor in Paris to earn enough money to set up his own business back in Chicago. He boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg as a third class passenger (ticket number 3410 which cost £8, 14s, 3d) and family report that he was chaperoning a 16-year-old friend across the Atlantic (perhaps Usher Pulner).

Aaron Willer died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

His widow and children were left destitute and on the verge of eviction following his loss, only saved by the intervention of the Red Cross. Bessie launched a suit against the Oceanic Steamship Company for £10,000 for loss of property and $50,000 for loss of life. It is not clear if these claims were ever settled but Bessie did receive monetary assistance from various relief funds to the sum of over $5000.

Bessie continued to live in Chicago and shows up on the 1920 census living in Chicago with her four sons. A decade later she is living on West Division Street, Chicago, still with some of her children. She died on 5 February 1949.

Aaron's three eldest sons all resettled in California and raised families, with Goodman being the last surviving California-based son when he died on 11 April 1990. Aaron's youngest son remained in Chicago and died on 24 December 1974.


  1. His name is given as Harry Willer on his son Maurice's death record.  His name is listed in "Marriages, Births, Deaths ..." as "Abe Weller".

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Michael A. Findlay (1998) Revised Passenger List in Judith Geller Titanic: Women and Children First. Haynes. ISBN 1 85260 594 4
Marriages, births, deaths and injuries that have occurred on board during the voyage (PRO London, BT 100/259-260)

Newspaper Articles

Dziennik Chicagoski (26 April 1912) Misery at Home (Nędza w domu)
Chicago Tribune (20 July 1912) WIDOW SUES TITANIC OWNERS
Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. charlene gauer

    Aaron Willer is my greatgrandfather he was from Russia and a taylor he lived in London for a time and than moved to America they came to Phildalphia than moved to Chicago. I'm looking for information about him Also does anyone know how to obtain a death certificate for people who died on the Titanic. Also I will be traveling to London What should I see relating to the Titanic

  2. Bob Godfrey

    Hallo, Charlene, and welcome to ET. See the thread below for information about death certificates, but note that these could be issued only if the victim's body had been recovered, identified and examined by a physician. Sadly that wasn't the case for Mr Willer. The Maritime Museum at Greenwich in London has collections of documents and artifacts relating to the Titanic. You might also want to consider a trip down to Southampton,... Read full post

  3. charlene gauer

    where do you find the death certificates for the passengers who died on the Titanic. I/m interested in finding a copy of my great grandfathers death certificate Aaron Willer.

  4. Michael H. Standart

    Charlene, please see Bob Godfrey's post at

  5. charlene gauer

    Thanks for the information. But I thought there was a place to obtain death certificates for people lost a sea. Enough on that subject. What about the ships records what type of information was gathered at that time. My problem is I have way to many questions and not enough answers. and I get frustrated because I don't know where to find the answers. Aaron was Aaorn when they lived in London they moved to America my grandfather was born and his name was Harry on my grandfathers birth certificate. He was on the titanic and his name was Abe. He had a passport originating in Russia I heard... Read full post

  6. Dave Gittins

    Charlene, with one exception (passenger William Hoyt) all the victims of Titanic were recorded as "supposed drowned". This was an old sea convention after a shipwreck after which bodies were not found. I think I have the documentation on your relation and I'll have a look in what I jokingly call my files.

  7. charlene gauer

    Thanks Dave for the information. Now my next question for all. When I'm in London where would I be able to get the most information about Abe Willer. What type of information was collected by the White Star line. Does anyone know?

  8. Bob Godfrey

    The White Star line collected basic information for its own records and to pass on to the Board of Trade and the US Immigration Authorities - name, age, occupation, place of birth, destination, etc, and all of that can be found here on Mr Willer's biography page, along with his ticket number and the price he paid for it. On that page, see also the link to 'General information on Mr Willer'. The only information sources in UK Government records will be the Census returns (of which the latest available is 1901) and, if appropriate, the registries of births, deaths and marriages, all of... Read full post

Reply Watch Thread

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Aaron Willer
Born: circa.1875
Age: 37 years (Male)
Nationality: Ukrainian Russian
Marital Status: Married to Bessie Suskin
Embarked: Cherbourg on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 3410, £8 14s 3d
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

Page Options

Watch this page

Improve this Biography

If you have any corrections or something to add please  get in touch