Isidor Straus was born on 6th February 1845 in Otterberg, Germany. He and his brother Nathan would go on to become successful businessmen in America, becoming founders of the now famous Macy’s department store.
Isidor’s wife, Ida Straus (born Rosaline Ida Blun), was born in Worns, Germany on 6th February 1849, the fifth of seven children.
Isidor was the first of five children to Lazarus Straus and his wife Sara. In 1854 the family immigrated to the United States, were his father had recently been able to secure a basement in a department store, setting up his own dry cleaning business.
Isidor and his brother Nathan eventually moved to New York and became involved with Rowland Hussey Macy, they were to eventually buy the business.
The couple married in 1871 and they had seven children together.
Isidor and Ida had travelled to Europe in early April with one of their daughters, Beatrice. They boarded the Titanic ship without her to travel home. As the couple were extremely wealthy they travelled fist class, paying what would now be about $60,000 each for their tickets. They travelled with a their maid Ellen Bird and manservant John Farthing.
There was some speculation that Ida stepped into the lifeboat when the ship was sinking, but then decided not to be rescued and instead stay behind with her husband; however, this has never been confirmed. The pair were last seen together holding hands on deck, Isidor’s body was recovered and buried in New York, however Ida was never found.
For almost 100 years, when those who entered Macy’s department Store in New York City, they would read the words “Their lives were beautiful and their deaths glorious”. There are also several memorials for the couple in both America and Germany.