Sinai and Miriam Kantor
In 1912, Sinai and Miriam, a Russian-Jewish couple, had dreams of going to America. Sinai wanted to start a career as a doctor, while Miriam had dreams of being a dentist. They didn’t have many options back home, and going to America sounded like a great idea. They were excited to begin their new lives in the land of opportunity. The couple had enough money to travel in style, so they decided to make the trip a vacation. Sailing to America in luxury sounded like a perfect plan. They board an ocean liner at the port of Southampton in England. They were going to travel to America in the grandest cruise ship ever built, the Titanic.
Everything was going fine for five days. At close to midnight on the fifth day, the ship hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic. The Titanic was known as an unsinkable ship. The people who designed it claimed that the ship’s watertight bulkheads would prevent the boat from sinking. Unfortunately, they were wrong. The water filled the first bulkhead and spilled over the top. The water had filled six of the compartments. The ship could have sailed to safety is five were filled with water, but not six.
When it became apparent that the ship was going down, people started to panic. There were 2,200 people on board, and there wasn’t enough room for everyone on the lifeboats. Because the ship was supposed to be unsinkable, some people believed that littering the deck with lifeboats was a waste of time. They compromised and put half the number of lifeboats necessary to save everyone on board in case the ship sank. When it actually did, there weren’t enough lifeboats for everyone. The lifeboats that they did have weren’t filled to capacity, which meant that many people knew that wouldn’t find a place on a boat. First-class women and children were allowed on the boats first, and so on. Because only women and children were loaded into the lifeboats first, Miriam got lucky. She got into a lifeboat, and hours later, she was rescued by the RMS Carpathia.
Sadly, Sinai didn’t get so lucky. He didn’t find a place on a lifeboat, and he drowned when the ship went down into the water. He died along with over 1,500 other souls. It wasn’t just third-class and steerage passengers that perished when the Titanic sank. In fact, the two richest men on the boat died that night. It was one of the biggest tragedies of all time. For Miriam, it was devastating. She and her husband were planning to start a new life together in America, now she was alone in New York, without the love of her life.
Recovering the Bodies
Eight days after the tragic sinking, the CS Mackay-Bennett, a ship owned by the Commercial Trade Company, arrived on the scene. It was up to them to collect the bodies that were floating on the surface of the water. There were many bodies under the water, and those would never be recovered. By the time the ship sank to the bottom of the ocean, there was too much pressure under the sea for rescue teams to get there. They did manage to recover the dead, who were still floating. One of them was Sanai.
When his body was collected, Miriam was already in New York. She wanted her husband’s personal effects back, but she had to deal with some bureaucratic struggles. She was very upset that it was so difficult for her to retrieve her husband’s personal effects. One of the personal effects that Sinai had with him when he died was his pocket watch. It was something that meant a lot to Sinai, so Miriam wanted it desperately. It was a Swiss-made watch that must have been of high quality since is managed to survive after being in the seawater for so long. The hands had Hebrew numerals, but most had washed off. The back of the watch had an etching of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments.
Miriam treasured the watch because it was one of the only things the 24-year-old widow had of her husband’s. She held onto the watch and passed it down to her children, who passed it down to theirs. The watch was a family heirloom for over a century, until 2018, when a greedy family member decided to sell the watch that meant so much to Miriam.
An Anonymous Descendant
Miriam’s descendant wanted to remain anonymous. They were likely ashamed that they were selling such a valuable family heirloom. The family member contacted Heritage Auctions in Texas to see if they could sell the watch.
An antique watch collector put in the winning bid for the watch. He paid $57,500 for the watch. He didn’t buy it so that he could carry it around or put it in his collection. Instead, he had it placed in the Miottel Museum in Berkeley, California, so that it could be put on display for everyone to see. This is s museum with plenty of memorabilia from the Titanic.
A Sad Story
This Precious Pocket Watch Was Salvaged From The Titanic – And It Has A Tearjerking Story. Miriam lost her husband; then, over a century later, a family member sold the watch that she worked so hard to get back. It’s nice that the watch is in a museum, but that isn’t what Miriam wanted. She wanted the watch to remain in her family for future generations to enjoy.