Dr Ernest Moraweck

Ernest Moraweck

Dr Ernest Moraweck was born in Davenport, Scott County, Iowa on 28 February 1858.

He was the son of Bohemian immigrants Anton Moraweck and Claudina Kroboth 1,2 who were married on 13 May 1856. He had two siblings: Claudina (1866-1956) and Alvin Herman (born 22 June 1876), both born in Indiana.

Moraweck's father, a baker, had emigrated to the USA around 1854, settling in Chicago, Illinois before moving in 1858 to Tell City, Indiana as a member of the Colonisation Company and then spending time in Kentucky and Iowa where he worked as a clerk. He returned to Tell City in 1870 and purchased a hotel, first called Steiner House and later The Hotel Moraweck, which he refurbished. The family were of Roman Catholic background but not religious and were Republican in their political leanings.

He appears on the 1880 census living in Tell City, Perry County in Indiana, still living at home with his parents. The family later settled in Louisville, Kentucky around the early 1880s.

He was married in Perry County, Indiana on 28 February 1884 to Emilie Basler (b. January 1861), a native of Ohio who was also Bohemian parentage.

From 1889 he worked as a 'collector' for the Frank Fehr Brewing Company. He left on New Year's day 1894 to begin studying medicine.

Moraweck became a physician, specialising in ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat) and became renowned in his field and patented several surgical instruments, most notably a new style of ocular forceps.  The Republic (Columbus, Indiana) reported on 5 June 1901 that he had been to Philadelphia assisting in performing a surgical operation of the eyes.

In 1900, he was listed as a physician living in Philadelphia with wife Emily and three servants.

The couple would have no children and Emilie would die aged just 33, in 1904, of heart failure.

By April 1912 Moraweck was a widower and was living in Frankfort, Brandenburg, Meade County, Kentucky where he owned a farm that he had bought a few years previous. A frequent traveller across the Atlantic on medical business, often to Vienna and Berlin to showcase his expertise, he boarded the Titanic at Southampton (ticket number 29011 which cost £14). The reason for his visit to Europe on this occasion was a peculiar one and not entirely business related.

In Autumn 1909 Dr Moraweck was returning from Europe and during his Atlantic crossing met a lady named Magdalena Hasse, a wealthy widow from Freiburg, Germany on her way to visit relatives in Florida. The two became friends and he attended to her medically. In Spring the following year Mrs Hasse visited Dr Moraweck's farm in Kentucky where she fell ill and died. Moraweck found among her effects her will with a codicil in which she gave directions that he should have her body cremated and the ashes sent to her family in Germany to be deposited with the remains of her first husband.  As a return for his many kindnesses to her she left to Dr Moraweck her villa near Freiburg, valued close to $30,000.  Dr Moraweck carried out the instructions and had the body cremated in Indianapolis and the remains returned to Mrs Hasse's family in Germany. However, it has been alleged that the trip to Germany was also because his beneficiary status of the villa had been contested by Mrs Hasse's family. It is further alleged that he had gained the confidence of several elderly and wealthy widows, having them spend time at his farm with Moraweck ending up the beneficiary in their wills following their deaths.

During the voyage Moraweck shared a dining saloon table with Kate Buss, among others. After the collision Dr Moraweck met Kate and he offered to investigate the reason for the engines stopping.

Dr Moraweck died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. In his will, dated 18 May 1904, in Louisville, Kentucky, Ernest left his estate, valued between $50,000 and $75,000 to his sister and brother. The outcome of any litigious motives towards Moraweck obviously went no further and any involvement in any wrongdoings will remain a mystery.

His sister Claudina was married to Dietrich Coldewey (1856-1902) and had a daughter, Erna (1890-1965). She died in Tell City, Indiana in 1956.

His brother Alvin worked as a telephone engineer, was married to Geneva Hamel (1879-1973) and had two children: Anita (b. 1910) and Alvin Herman (1913-1998). He lived in Maplewood, New Jersey and was still resident there in the 1940s and was seemingly well-known in social circles. What became of him is not known.


Census records would differ over the ethnicity of his parents, jumping between German, Austrian and Bohemian, the latter being a historic European region encompassing areas now split across several modern territories, including Germany, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic. His mother was reportedly from Moravia, a region in the modern Czech Republic, indicating that they were likely Czechs or ethnic-Germans living in what was then a region known as Czech Silesia.
  1. Anton Moraweck born Austria c.1828 (or August 1830?), died Tell City, Indiana, 1 June 1906.  Claudina Kroboth born Austria 1834, died 1892)
  2. Czech spelling, Antonin Morávka and Klaudin Krobotkové. Surname sometimes spelt as Morawetz, Morowich or Morawick.

Articles and Stories

Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) (1912) 
Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) (1912) 
Chicago American (1912) 
Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) (1912) 
Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) (1907) 
Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) (1904) 
Columbus Republican (1904) 
Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) (1897) 
Courier Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) (1894) 
Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) (1892) 
Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) (1892) 
Louisville Courier-Journal, Louisville KY 

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Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg, Sweden
Duane F. Gerstenberger

References and Sources

The News Standard (Meade County, Kentucky), 15 January 1910: Meade County doctor one of 1517 lives lost with the Titanic
Thomas James De La Hunt (1980) Perry County - A History. Cook & McDowell, Pub., 719 E. 6th Street, Owenboro, Kentucky 42301.
Photo: Indianapolis News (17 April 1912)
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2019) Ernest Moraweck Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #517, updated 14th December 2019 03:29:12 AM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/ernest-moraweck.html