Mr Jakob Birnbaum (1), 25, was born in Krakow Poland as the second of 9 children to Joachim Birnbaum and Theophilia (Cypres) Birnbaum.
In 1912, Jakob was a diamond trader officially residing in Antwerp, Belgium, but representing his family's business in San Francisco, CA. Mr Birnbaum had been to Antwerp for business and should have been back to the US before April, 1912, but was persuaded by his family to stay for the Jewish holiday Passover. Jakob had booked passage with another company, but due to the coal strike in England, his passage was transferred to the Titanic which he boarded at Cherbourg (ticket number 13905, £26).
According to his descendants Jakob's family pleaded with him not to take a ship on its maiden voyage, but Jakob reassured his family that the ship was billed as "unsinkable."
Birnbaum died in the sinking, his body was recoved by the MacKay Bennett (#148).
NO. 148. ? MALE. ? ESTIMATED AGE, 28. ? DARK HAIR.
CLOTHING ? Light grey overcoat; blue pajamas.
EFFECTS ? Gold glasses; gold ring marked "J. B."; 2 pairs tweezers; 2 bunches keys; 1 gold watch chain; scissors; papers; nail file; 2 memo books; pocket knife; diamond solitaire tie pin; purse.
The body was forwarded on 6 May 1912 to Mr Joachim Binbaum, c/o Red Star Line, Pier 60, New York City and repatriated to Belgium. He was moved to the Netherlands to receive eternal burial rights (a Jewish requirement).
He was buried at the Jewish Cemetery in Putte, Holland, across the Belgian border. Atop his grave, is a ship - a symbolic reminder of the Titanic disaster. The inscription on his tombstone reads:
Here lies a well-educated young man.
A gold watch was found on Jakob's body. The family had it repaired and engraved "Tytanic [sic] April 1912 Jakob Birnbaum."
1. In the original records his first and last name are mistakenly reversed. His first is sometimes spelt "Jacob".
2. The expression well-educated meant that he had been instructed in the Jewish faith. Krakow is the city in Poland in which the family originated; Nissan corresponds with the month of April. Shavouot is a Jewish religious holiday in May. 5,672 in Hebrew corresponds with the year 1912.
Record of Bodies and Effects: Passengers and Crew, S.S. Titanic (Public Archives of Nova Scotia) (#148)
Edward P. De Groot (1996) Titanic Uitgeverij De Alk B.V.
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
Herman DeWulf, Belgium
Michael A. Findlay, USA
Scott Lichtman, USA (relative of Jakob Birnbaum)
Hermann Söldner, Germany