Encyclopedia Titanica

Leo Zimmermann

Leo Zimmermann was born on 20 February 1883, the son of Joseph Zimmermann (sales agent) and Ludwina Wasmer.  He had nine siblings, five boys and four girls. The family lived in the peaceful village of Todtmoos in the Black Forest, where Leo worked as a farmer. 

Leo Zimmerman in a band
The music club at Todtmoos-Weg in 1899.
Leo Zimmermann is holding a trumpet - second from left in the middle row. 

(Photo courtesy of Jens Ostrowski).

Life was difficult for the family in the countryside. In 1900, the Zimmermann family home, which was already 150 years old, burned down completely and five years later, Leo's mother Ludwina died.

Leo Zimmermann also dreamed of a better life in the New World and therefore decided to emigrate to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada, where his brothers Edwin and Arnold already lived.  The two brothers had left Germany and departed from Antwerp, Belgium, arriving in Quebec on 17 September 1911. 

To realise his dream, he bought a ticket (315082) for the maiden voyage of the Titanic from the Swiss agency Kaiser & Cie in Zurich (Basel?), for the price of 390 Swiss francs (£7, 17s, 6d), and boarded the luxury liner in Southampton on 10 April 1912.

Leo, it seems was initially booked to travel to New York on the Titanic's sister ship, the Olympic.  But recently discovered documents, show his name crossed out on the passenger list for 3 April 1912. The reason he was transferred to sail on the Titanic is unclear. 

Olympic Passenger List
Zimmermann's name crossed out in the Olympic's passenger list

He departed from Southampton on the Titanic on 10 April 1912. Leo occupied cabin (E)58 on F-Deck together with the Swiss brothers Anton Kink and Vincenz Kink together with Josef Arnold, Albert Wirz and (probably) Wenzel Linhart

When the ship hit the iceberg, the men tried to escape later in the night, but only Anton Kink managed to get into a lifeboat (number 2). Everyone else from cabin E58 died, including Leo Zimmermann. His body was never found. 

On 4 June 1912, Leo's father Josef and his brother Matthäus received the news of Leo's death via the Grand Ducal District Office St. Blasien. Two months later, the family made claims for damages, including a refund of the cost of his Titanic ticket, and a settlement in the amount of 8050 Reichsmark for father Joseph Zimmermann, whose living expenses Leo was supposed to have paid for. 

In the claim, they added:

"We would also like to add that the father and all the siblings are poor people and that the requested sum is certainly low."

On 8 April 1913, almost a year after the tragedy, the family received an answer:

"According to a message from the Imperial Consulate General in London, the request of Matthäus Zimmermann in Todtmoos has not been considered."

Only father Joseph Zimmermann was awarded an amount of 805 Reichsmark. A small amount for the loss of a human life. 

Today there are few references to Leo Zimmermann.   There is evidence that he was once a member of the Musikverein on the Todtmoos-Weg, and a photo of the group from 1899 shows the 16-year-old Zimmermann holding a trumpet.

In September 2020, on the initiative of the Swiss Titanic Society, the german Titanic historian Jens Ostrowski and the local government of Todtmoos, a memorial plaque was erected in honour of Leo so that after more than a hundred years, Leo Zimmermann will finally be remembered in his hometown.

His brother Arnold was still living and working as a farmer in Saskatoon at the time of a 1916 census what became of this thereafter remains unknown.

Documents and Certificates

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912, National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279]).


Günter Bäbler (1998) Reise auf der Titanic: Das Schicksal der Schweizer, Chronos, Zurich
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Comment and discuss

  1. WeMustKnow

    WAS HE RELATED TO BOB DYLAN? Oh god please tell ... whether or not this man was related to Robert Zimmerman, born May 24th, 1941. 

  2. jefeinoc

    Made immortal by Bob Dylan in his song

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Leo Zimmermann
Age: 29 years 1 month and 23 days (Male)
Nationality: German
Religion: Roman Catholic
Marital Status: Single
Last Residence: in Todtmoos, Germany
Occupation: Farmer
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 315082, £7 17s 6d
Cabin No. (E)58
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

Linked Biographies

Cabin companion
Anton Kink

Cabin companion
Vincenz Kink

Cabin companion

Cabin companion

Cabin companion

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