Winnebago County, Illinois
TITANIC'S SURVIVOR COMES TO ROCKFORD
The Rockford Republic, Thursday 25 April 1912
MISS DAGMAR BRYHL, AFTER LOSING BROTHER AND SWEETHEART ON FATEFUL TRIP FROM SWEDEN TO ROCKFORD FINALLY REACHED HERE 6:30 THIS MORNING
WAS SECOND CLASS PASSENGER ABOARD THE DOOMED TITANIC
HER FIRST WARNING OF DANGER CAME FROM HER SWEETHEART
HER STORY OF THE TRAGEDY AS TOLD TO THE REPUBLIC
SPENT SIX HOURS ON THE ATLANTIC IN OPEN BOAT BEFORE RESCUE CAME
IS SUFFERING FROM SHOCK, WILL RETURN AFTER REST HERE.
Having lost her brother and sweetheart and herself barely escaped death, Miss Dagmar Bryhl, the Rockford-bound survivor from the mid-ocean tragedy of the Titanic, reached this city 6:30 o'clock this morning in company with her uncle, Oscar R. Lustig, and is now resting at his home at 502 Pearl Street.
Thus is ended what was to have been a summer visit of Miss Bryhl, her brother Kurt Bryhl and her affianced sweetheart Ingvar Enander, to Rockford relatives, and from gloom has been cast over a number of families in this city to whom the brother and sister are related.
The arrival of Mr. Lustig and his niece has been anxiously awaited. They reached here much later than was expected but this was due to Miss Bryhl's condition. Although she is reported to be gaining composure, she still is said to be feeble, and her uncle positively refused everyone permission to see her this morning.
"Poor Dagmar!" exclaimed Mr. Lustig, the tears welling into his eyes as he spoke to a Republic reporter. "You cannot must not see her now. Nobody knows what the poor girl went through. Her nerves are all a-tremble ____ and I am afraid it will be sometime before those awful hours will be erased from her mind. I have not asked her a thing about it myself, but sometimes she would sit with her chin on her hand, brooding, and then she would tell me snatches of her terrible experiences."
Mr. Lustig and his niece left New York Tuesday evening about 6 o'clock and arrived in Chicago last night. He was anxious to get back to Rockford and went to Rochelle hoping to get an early accommodation train out of there. They passed the night in Rochelle and the constant traveling so wore out Miss Bryhl's strength that she was put to bed as soon as she reached her uncles' home here.
While the reporters were not permitted to talk with Miss Bryhl today her uncle who is a well educated man, told the account that his niece has given him from time to time since he met her in New York last Saturday.
"Dagmar and her brother, Kurt, and her sweetheart, Ingvar Enander, left their home in Skara, in Sweden, April 3. They all sailed second class, and none of them had any intentions of remaining in Rockford. It was simply to be a visit, although it might have happened that Kurt would have remained. Enander had taken a course in agriculture and expected to continue his studies and observations here.
"Dagmar told me that on the Sunday evening when the Titanic hit the iceberg the weather was quite balmy. Several hours before the crash came Dagmar says that she was on deck wearing a light summer dress. She says it was a wonderfully bright night. About 9 o'clock or so, however, the air recommended to be chilly and soon it was positively cold.
"It was so cold," said Dagmar "that I went after my coat and everybody else did. Finally it became almost too cold for the deck. The coldness, of course, indicated we were in the region of the icebergs and that warning it seems the ship's officers should have taken.
The story of the crash and the subsequent happenings Mr. Lustig says his niece has told him substantially as follows:
"I was in my berth when the Titanic hit the berg. I noticed the jar and soon I heard Ingvar knocking on the door of my cabin, "Get up, Dagmar," he said. "The ship has hit something." I put on a skirt and a coat as quickly as possible and hurried up to the deck. But the officers said, "go back, there is no danger; you go to your cabins."
"I returned to my berth and went back to bed. I had not laid very long before there was more knocking on my door and Ingvar was yelling, "Get up, Dagmar, we are in danger. I don't care what the ship's officers say, I tell you we are in danger of our lives. The boat is sinking."
"Again I flung on my skirt and coat and ran up. Someone said we had hit an iceberg. The screaming and yelling was awful. They were putting women and children into the boats and lowered them into the sea. Men and women were kissing each other farewells. Ingvar and Kurt led me to a boat and Ingvar lifted me into it. I seized his hands and wouldn't let go. "Come with me!" I screamed as loud as I could and still holding his hands tight. There was room in the boat. It was only half-filled, but a officer ran forward and clubbed back Ingvar. This officer tore our hands apart and the lifeboat was let down. As it went down I looked up. There, learning over the rail, stood Kurt and Ingvar side by side. I screamed to them again, but it was no use. They waved their hands and smiled. That was the last glimpse I had of them.
"The men that rowed our boat pushed away from the Titanic. The air was very cold and we all shivered. They rowed us around and we saw the great ship sink. Then came more dreadful screams. The water filled with crying people. Some of them climbed in our boat and so saved their lives.
"We were out in the life boat from 11 o'clock Sunday night until 6 o'clock Monday morning, when the Carpathia came. Seven hours without any clothing thick enough to protect me from the stinging cold benumbed my limbs. Oh, I can't ever tell the thoughts that came to me out there. The sea was so still and clear as a mirror, it seemed, and over us was a clear and cloudless sky."
When Miss Bryhl was taken aboard the Carpathia with the other survivors, her plight attracted the sympathy of a wealthy Jewish woman from New Your. This kind-hearted woman's generosity, however, gave Mr. Lustig some hours of anxiety when he reached New York. Miss Bryhl's benefactor took her in charge and, instead of registering her with the relief committee in New Your, walked her down the gang-plank, placed her in an automobile and hurried her to the Hospital for Deformities and Joint Diseases, a charitable institution at 1915 Madison Ave., which is supported by Jewish philanthropists. The result was, although the Carpathia 's survivor list included Miss Bryhl's name, no one could tell her uncle where he would find his niece. Miss Bryhl wrote to Mr. Lustig the morning after reaching the hospital, supposing that he was still in Rockford, but it was not until his relatives here telegraphed him the address at which the girl was stopping that he came in communication with her.
The uncle had left Rockford as soon as the full details of the wreck and the rescue of his niece was reported. He intended to be on hand when she arrived and to take her in charge, and does not feel in the least satisfied with the treatment accorded him by some of the White Star Line officials.
He says he was met with icy looks and chilly courtesy at the steamship office. No one seemed to know anything. The manager refused to talk with him. The Mr. Lustig threatened to go to the newspaper offices and tell the press about the treatment he was receiving and he says that the effect of this threat was electrical. Even the manager then had time to see him.
Mr. Lustig did go to the New York Tribune office after he had failed to get any information at the Scandinavian Emigrant Home or at the Swedish consul: A reporter told him of having seen a Swedish girl, who had lost two brothers and who spoke French leave for Montreal with a French family and as his niece speaks French, Mr. Lustig feared Miss Bryhl had left for Montreal. He prepared a telegram to the Montreal Gazette, asking that newspaper to try to intercept the girl and was on the point of sending it when he learned that his niece was at the hospital on Madison Avenue.
For the officials at the hospital Mr. Lustig has the highest praise. His niece was attended by Dr. Henry W. Frauenthal, who himself had relatives lost in the wreck, and Maurice Rothschild, a director of the hospital and a millionaire, interested himself in the Swedish girl's case. Mr. Rothschild took Mr. Lustig and Miss Bryhl to see the Stock Exchange in action and showed them many other marks of attention and gave them his address and asked that he be informed when the girl reached her destination.
Miss Bryhl, according to her uncle, has again and again declared between hysterical sobs, that if she had thought that her brother and her sweetheart would be lost that she would never have allowed them to put her in the life-boat. She says that she would rather have died with them when the great ship settled into the deeps that to live with the memory of all that took place graven into her mind for all the subsequent days to come.
"Poor father," she has said several times to her uncle, "It is for him I weep! This blow falls heaviest on him over there in Sweden."
Among the first of her relatives to call at the Lustig home this morning was her aunt, Mrs. Charles Lindstedt, 2020 Charles Street, who could not staunch her tears.
"The poor child," cried Mrs. Lindstedt. "How shall I ever be able to meet her! This is dreadful."
Mrs. Lindstedt told Mr. Lustig her brother, of the cablegram received here a few days ago from Miss Bryhl's father, asking that the girl be sent home immediately. This both agreed to be impossible. Miss Bryhl will rest here for some time, and a letter will be written to her father asking him to come to America and take her back. It is not certain how long Miss Bryhl will remain in Rockford, but she will probably be here several months.
Miss Bryhl is 20 years of age and the daughter of Gottfried Lustig, an important official and resident of Skara. She is excellently educated and can speak French and German fluently and can write English and make herself understood in that language. The mother is also alive. She has four sisters, Mrs. Ringman __ Goteborg and Lily, Jane and Alice. There are three brothers, Ragnar, Arthur and Gunnar, all living at Skara. Kurt, who was lost, had taken his matriculation examination for Uppsala University, but then heard the call of the sea, and for several years has was a seaman. He had been around the world and lived for a time in Paris. He is said to have been a care-free young man who had seen much and who was preparing to settle down and put his wide experience to use in the calmer affairs of life. [The Rockford Republic, Thursday 25 April 1912]
Young Woman Reaches Rockford Today, in Company of Her Uncle
WOULD HAVE DIED HAD SHE REALIZED THAT SWEETHEART AND BROTHER WERE BEING TAKEN AWAY FOREVER
Dagmar Bryhl one of the 705 passengers who escaped from the ill-fated Titanic when that steamer went down on the morning of Monday, April 15, reached Rockford this morning.
Miss Bryhl was in the company of her uncle, Oscar Lustig, 511 Pearl street, who went to New York last Thursday to find his niece and bring her to Rockford.
Mr. Lustig and his niece arrived over the Chicago Burlington & Quincy railroad at 6:30 o'clock this morning. The young woman was taken immediately to the Lustig residence, given a room in a secluded portion of the house and put to bed.
She had not fully recovered from the strain and excitement which at_____ the sinking of the Titanic and the events which occurred, afterward and the end of the long journey from New York to Rockford found her in such a state that she was allowed to go to sleep immediately after she arrived at the Lustig home and all callers were barred from conversation with her.
It will take several days at least before the young woman has recovered from the shock so that she is again in a normal state and it will take a great deal longer before she has fully recovered from the harrowing experience and the effects of the long exposure in an open boat at sea.
Fails to Recollect Much
Mr. Lustig who spoke for his niece this morning said that the young woman has not a very clear recollection of many of the thing that went on during the night of horror.
She has been very reticent about relating the occurrences of the night and the story of her experience has _____ from ____ only its fragments thus far, but it nevertheless is sufficient to show fully the horror which the night of the sinking of the ship and the despair which most of them suffered upon reaching New York, to learn that all their loved ones had found a grave in the watery deep.
Felt Icebergs Were Near
Miss Bryhl was in the second cabin of the Titanic, a New York woman sharing the cabin with her. Only a short distance away were her brother, Curt Bryhl, and her sweetheart, Ingvar Enander.
The young people had enjoyed a happy trip up to Sunday night especially Miss Bryhl and Mr. Enander, who had only recently become engaged be married and whose wedding was only a matter of a few months distant.
Sunday night they were seated on the deck when suddenly the liner seemed to plunge into a region of cold air. The cold grew in intensity until many passengers were forced to return to their cabins and others who desired to remain outside put on their heaviest wraps.
Late in the evening the cold was so intense that even with the heaviest wraps on passengers were unable to remain on deck and nearly everybody was in the saloons or in their respective cabins.
That the ship was either approaching or in the midst of ice was plainly apparent on account of the intense cold. There was no slackening in the speed of the liner, however, which slipped through the water at a steady and rapid gait.
Shock Was Not Severe
Miss Bryhl was in her cabin but she had not retired when she felt a jar, not very severe, but strong enough to indicate that something out of the ordinary had occurred.
She and her cabin-mate together with other second cabin passengers rushed out only to be informed by ship officers that there was no danger.
Miss Bryhl returned to her cabin and prepared to retire as did hundreds of other passengers, when Mr. Enander came to the door of the cabin stating that the ladies must come forth. The young man had a feeling of danger and told his sweetheart that he was sure that something was wrong no matter what the ship's officers might have to say.
The party hurried to the deck where they found the lifeboats already being loaded.
Begs For Companions
The young woman was picked up by Mr. Enander and carried toward one of the boats. When Miss Bryhl hear the order that only women were to be allowed in the lifeboats she seized her sweetheart and begged that both her and her brother, who stood by her side would be allowed in the lifeboat.
She clung to the young men, begging and pleading that as the boat was only half full, they be allowed to enter the lifeboat, but they were torn from her side and the last she knows of them they were standing on deck, bidding her be of good cheer, as they both were certain they would be saved. Evidently the young men felt, like a great majority of the Titanic's passengers, that the danger to the ship was not serious and that the lifeboats were being lowered and sent away more as a precautionary measure than anything else.
Tossed Hours On Sea
The boat in which Miss Bryhl was tossed for hours on the sea, which fortunately was as smooth as a mirror with a clear starry sky overhead. The night was beautiful in the extreme, but the passengers in the boats, shivering in their insufficient clothing and in agony at being torn from relatives and friends had little time to think of the grandeur of the scene.
Several members of the crew were in the boat and they _____ a long ways from the ship. Several men floundering about in the water were pulled in but when the last rescue had been made the boat was by no means full. There would have been room for a great many more in the boat, at least a dozen, and perhaps a score.
Could Not Watch Liner Sink
The small boats from the Titanic drew a good ways away from the ship but they were not so far out that the liner could be plainly seen settling down into the water as the minutes glided swiftly by.
The passengers in the boats could see the ship lowering little by little, the lights on board making the liner stand out in bold relief against the sky.
Finally Miss Bryhl and the survivors in her boat saw the end was near. The boat began to point down swiftly and the ship dives almost straight down. At this stage Miss Bryhl says she could not bear to look. The scene was too agonizing. Apparently there was no escape for the hundreds of people (?) mostly men who crowded the rails.
She shut her eyes and turned away, and when she turned to look again there was no trace of the monster liner, and agonized cries resounded from the water on every hand. Soon even the cries ceased and aside from the few lifeboats and a mass of wreckage there was nothing to indicate that the pride - of - the - ocean had only a few minutes before been triumphantly ablaze over the spot.
Floated for Seven Hours
For seven hours the boat in which Miss Bryhl was saved floated before the Carpathia ____ in sight. The air was keen and the women and the men were nearly frozen before they were picked up.
Miss Bryhl wore nothing but a coat over her nightgown, a covering altogether insufficient to keep out the cold of the frosty night, and it was with a sigh of relief that the approach of the Cunard liner was seen.
On board the Carpathia the Titanic survivors were given a drink of brandy and hot coffee and were allowed to retire. Miss Bryhl says that there was nothing extraordinary in the treatment accorded the Titanic passengers on the Carpathia. The food was plentiful but it did not seem of the best kind and the young woman subsided mainly on a diet of oranges until she arrived in New York.
Were Kept in Suspense
The agony of the night at sea was not greater than the agony which the Titanic's survivors endured on the Carpathia. Miss Bryhl did not know if her brother and sweetheart were lost or saved. She kept hoping against hope, thinking that possibly they might have been picked up by some other steamer as she knew that they were not among the survivors on the Carpathia.
It was not until last Saturday, just a short time before her uncle reached her, that she read a New York paper and discovered that both the young men were in the list of lost.
Miss Bryhl was taken from the Carpathia after that steamer arrived in New York, by the woman who had shared her cabin on the Titanic, and placed in the New York Hospital for Deformities and Joint diseases at 1915-1919 Madison Avenue. She remained at the hospital until Saturday, when she, in company with a Swedish woman, ventured out, in search of information. She was at the Metropolitan building when she was found by her uncle.
The task of locating the young woman was somewhat difficult for Mr. Lustig. Having been taken from the Carpathia by the New York woman she was not listed by any of the relief committees and it was only after a long and careful search that Mr. Lustig was able to find his niece.
Saved Only Her Watch
Of all of Miss Bryhl's belongings she saved only her watch, which was a present from her sweetheart. She chanced to wear the watch suspended from a chain, hung about her neck, which accounts for the fact that she bore it in safety from the liner.
The only clothing she possessed when she arrived on the Carpathia was a night gown and a coat, and a complete new outfit was necessary for her before she was able to leave the hospital to which she was taken from the boat.
Cannot Recollect Band
Many of the incidents related by other Titanic survivors cannot be recollected by Miss Bryhl, who was too agonized with fear for the safety of her sweetheart and her brother to realize fully what was passing abut her.
She has no recollection of the ship's band playing as the liner went down and says that if the band had been in her own lifeboat she probably would not have heard it, so intent were her thoughts on the loved ones she left on shipboard.
Would Have Elected to Die
"Had I thought that my sweetheart and my brother were in such danger I would never have left the ship", said Miss Bryhl. "Both seemed confident that they would be saved, but had I even had a hint of what was about to occur nothing could have kept me from them. It was not until the ship began to settle rapidly that we in the boat saw the end was so near and then, of course, it was too late for any further aid."
Will Probably Go Back
Miss Bryhl will probably return to her home in Sweden after she has remained here long enough to fully regain her strength and to recover from the shock she sustained. Relatives here think it likely that her father, who is a stationmaster at Skara, Sweden, will come to Rockford after her. The young woman notified her father and the father of her sweetheart of the loss of the two young men by letter from New York.
She will be kept at the Lustig home until she has fully recovered, relatives here having determined not to let her go until she has regained her strength completely.
The young woman has borne up bravely considering the loss she sustained and the horrible experience she passed through. She seems to have an abundance of pluck and nerve and in New York she surprised many by her courageous manner. She feels keenly the loss of her sweetheart and brother and is on the verge of a breakdown every time the subject of the loss of the ship and her dear friends is broached.
Miss Bryhl is a talented young woman. She was given an excellent education in Sweden and speaks English, French and German. She also writes English well and has had little trouble in reading accounts of the wreck in American papers. She is but twenty years of age and for such a young woman has borne up wonderfully well under the heavy burdens which have been laid upon her. [The Rockford Daily Register Gazette, Thursday 25 April 1912]
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