The biggest maritime disaster of all time, the sinking of the Titanic, happened exactly 110 years ago. Stories have it that several Hungarian people were also passengers. However, the most famous Hungarian who was involved in the tragedy of the Titanic is a Hungarian doctor who provided medical attendance to those who survived the sinking of the Titanic.
The Titanic was 270 meters long and 56 metres wide. It was thought to be unsinkable, which is why there were only 16 lifeboats on the ocean liner instead of the advised 64. After the ship sank, it became clear that the insufficient number of lifeboats was a major factor in the number of deaths. Thus, the previous rule that a 10,000-tonne ship was only obliged to carry 16 lifeboats was changed.
There are many reasons for the ship’s horrible fate. Some of them were human errors, others were a series of unfortunate coincidences. On the occasion of the anniversary of the disaster, blikk.hu examined the story from the perspective of a Hungarian passenger who was certainly on board and the potential Hungarian passengers.
Leopold Weisz is the only Hungarian who is certain to have been a passenger on the Titanic. Weisz was born in Veszprém around 1875 as Lipót Weisz. He emigrated at the age of 19 and studied in England at the Bromsgrove Industrial Art Society. There, he met his future wife, the Belgian Mathilde Françoise Pëde. Weisz travelled to England to pick up his wife and together they left for Canada where the couple imagined their future. They were originally scheduled to travel first class on a ship called the Lusitania, but they were transferred to the Titanic’s second class, which they embarked on in Southampton on 10 April.
As blikk.hu writes, Weisz did not survive the disaster, which was caused by a collision with an iceberg, but his wife was able to take a seat in lifeboat No 10. As it turned out, Weisz had transported his entire fortune in gold bars sewn into his jacket. His wife arrived in New York penniless. Fortunately, when they identified her husband’s body, which was in life jacket 283, they returned the precious metals they had found on him.
Dr Árpád Lengyel was the heroic doctor of the ship Carpathia, which came to the aid of the Titanic. After hitting the iceberg, the Titanic tried to contact the surrounding ships by radio to come to its aid. The Carpathia was the first ship to pick up the radio signals.
The Carpathia could carry 705 passengers and sailors, many of whom were injured. A Hungarian-born doctor on board the ship was in charge of the care of the survivors. Dr Lengyel and his colleagues tirelessly cared for the survivors all the way to New York. The doctor received numerous awards for his heroic conduct.
Source: Blikk.hu, Encyclopedia Titanica