četvrtak, 24. svibnja 2012.


Croatian stories: The Titanic and the Carpathia – survival, rescue and tragedy

People from the Titanic was a liner between the cities of Rijeka and New York

April 15 2012 – the world remembers those who died and those who survived when the Titanic sank 100 years ago. From croatiantimes.com: ‘Out of the 30 Croatians who were heading for America in search of a better life, only 3 survived the tragedy. Nikola Lulic, Ivan Jalsevac and Mara Osman managed to leave the ship just under two hours before it sank. ”My father said Nikola completely changed and that the Titanic tragedy left its mark,” said Mile Lulic, a relative of Titanic survivor Nikola Lulic to Croatian daily newspaper 24sata. All three survivors, who found it difficult to cope with the stress after the ordeal, were believed to have jumped from the sinking Titanic into the water, although it was unclear wether or not lifeboats were waiting or they had to wait in the freezing waters for a rescue boat. Jalsevac and Lulic eventually returned to Croatia but Osman managed to get to America and stayed there for the remainder of her life’. Many passengers on the ship were those from European countries fleeing oppression and/or poverty in search of a better life in “America”. Croatians among them fled the life within the Austro-Hungarian Empire – they set towards realising their personal “American dream”. And the story of Titanic’s sinking reanimates stories of tragedy, but also the story of the significant differences between the rich and the poor. These stories about the Titanic include the stories about 30 Croatian passengers. Most of the Croatians, not having the means to pay for their passage to a “better life in America and Canada”, worked on the Titanic as stokers (21 of them). A smaller number came on board as passengers – third class, together with British, Irish, Scandinavian Russian, Bulgarian … “One of them was Ivan Jalsevac from Topolovac, near the town of Sisak. He managed to escape the jaws of the Big Blue. His family still keeps written details of his memory on that fatal night. Ivan, who always spoke about that night to his family, died in 1945. The disaster affected his life as he witnessed the death of his friends, visions which haunted him for life. His nephew told us the stories: “My uncle told me that a strong crash awakened him. That was the moment when the Titanic hit the iceberg. Everyone was shocked at first, but after a few minutes, when the passengers and crew realised what had happened, panic ran rampant. Passengers, suddenly facing the possibility of ending their lives in the cold Atlantic Ocean, were petrified. The lower deck passengers were not allowed to come out. The ship’s staff locked all the exits from the lower decks. There was no room for lower class passengers to be saved. They were crossed out automatically for a rescue. A terrible noise was heard from the deck of the ship and the occasional gun shot, probably to make some order among the panic stricken mass. “My uncle and two of his friends, Drazen and Stankovic, tried to save as many women and children as possible. That was their last meeting alive. Ivan Jalsevac never saw his friends again. He managed to escape through to the main deck and to jump into the cold Atlantic. That was his only chance out alive. In the cold ocean, next to the sinking Titanic was one of the lifeboats full of women and children. He reached for it and thankfully the women helped and took him into the boat because the sailors showed no interest in saving him. ‘They managed to paddle to the ‘Carpathia’ steam boat that took on most of the survivors of the catastrophe. There were twenty Croat sailors from Dalmatia working on the Carpathia. ‘The White Star Line Company, which owned the Titanic, decorated survivors and presented them an ironic award – free life passes to travel with the company. The ones who were reimbursed were mostly the rich and second class, excluding the third class – including Croats’.” The Croatians on the Titanic were: Ivan Stankovic, Ivan Jalsevic, Josip Drazenovic, Franjo and Ana Korum, Ivan Markun, Ljudevit Cop, Branko Dakic, Ivan Bartoli, Mirko Dika, Stevo Pavlovic, Matilda Petrinac, Milan Karasin, Stevan Turcin, Ciro Rekic, Marija Cacic, Janko Vuk, Ivan Strimic, Petar Calic, Manda Calic, Tomo Pakrevic, Tomo Uzelac, Luka Oreskovic, Mate Pokrajac, Marija Oreskovic, and Janko and Mile Smiljanic. Carpathia was the only ship to come to Titanic’s passengers and crew rescue. At the time of Titanic’s sinking Carpathia was on its regular route New York – Rijeka (Croatia). There were 76 Croatians working as crew on the Carpathia – the hero ship. Thanks to one of them, Josip Car, who pulled the Titanic survivors onto the Carpathia and tried to keep them warm with blankets, that Croatia today possesses one of only five life jackets from Titanic whose origin is unquestionable. Car kept as a memento one life jacket when the Titanic survivors disembarked and the life jackets lay abandoned on Carpathia’s deck. He brought the life jacket to Rijeka and in 1938 gifted it to Rijeka Museum and the Museum kept it in its storage, forgotten. Few years ago Slobodan Novakovic and his Swiss colleague Ginter Bablem, studying the Titanic tragedy located the life jacket in Rijeka and after its restoration placed it as an exhibit in the Museum. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


The following article was published in the “Croatian Chronicle – Chicago”, No. 1, Spring 2002, under the title “Sinking of the Titanic – 90th Anniversary.”  On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic tragedy, we are bringing here the same text with a few small changes.


April 15, 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the famous Titanic liner.  Among 1,316 passengers, out of which 818 died in this horrific tragedy that stunned the world, there were also a number of Croatians and/or people coming from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The following among them lost their lives:

Čačić Jago/Grga, 18, single, Široka Kula, destination South Chicago, Illinois.

Čačić, Luka, 38, married, Široka Kula, destination South Chicago, Illinois.

Čačić, Manda, 21, single, Široka Kula, destination South Chicago, Illinois.

Čačić, Marija, 30, single, Široka Kula, destination South Chicago, Illinois.

Čalić, Jovo, 17, single, Breznik, destination Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

Čalić, Petar, 17, single, Brezik, destination Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

Čor, Bartol, 35, married, Kričina, destination Great Falls, Montana.

Čor, Ivan, 27, married, Kričina, destination Great Falls, Montana.

Čor, Ljudevit, 19, married, Kričina, destination St. Louis, Missouri.

Čulumović, Joso, 17, single, Lipova Glavica, destination Hammond, Indiana. (He boarded under his “calling-name” of Ećimović.)

Dakić, Branko, 19, Gornji Miholjac, destination unknown.  His body, even if found, was never  identified.

Dika, Mirko, 17, single, Podgora (Crikvenica?), destination Vancouver, Canada.

Dimić, Jovan, 42, married, Ostrovica, destination Red Lodge, Montana.

Draženović, Josip, 33, married, Hrastelnica, destination New York, NY. His body was recovered by the MacKay Bennett (#51) and was buried at sea on 21 April 1912. “Pipe bowl, passport, set of beads [rosary], $25.00 and 5 krones” were found on his body. (At another place it is stated that his age was 30.)

Hendeković, Ignjac, 28, married, Vagovina, destination Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  He traveled with Matilda Petranec.  His body was recovered by the MacKay Bennett (#306) and buried at Mount Olivet Roman Catholic Cemetery, Halifax, NS on May 10, 1912.  “One knife, purse with $12 in notes; small purse with 72 cents; two third class tickets, No. 349245 for Matilda Petram (Petranec) and No. 349243 for Toznai!! Hendeković” were found on his body.

Karajić, Milan, 30, married, Vagovina, destination Youngstown, Ohio.

Orešković, Jelka, 23, single, Konjsko Brdo, destination South Chicago, Illinois. (Boarded together with her relatives Luka and Marija Orešković.)

Orešković, Marija, 20, single, Konjsko Brdo, destination South Chicago, Illinois. (Boarded together with her relatives Luka and Jelka Orešković.  Marija’s mother received a grant of Ł50 from the Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund.

Orešković, Luka, 20, married, Konjsko Brdo, destination South Chicago, Illinois. (Boarded together with Marija and Jelka Orešković.)

Pavlović, Štefo, 32, married, Vagovina, destination Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Petranec, Matilda, 28, widow, Vagovina, destination Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (Boarded with Ignjac Hendeković.  Her ticket was found on the body of Mr Hendeković.

Pocrnić, Mate, 17, single, Bukovac, destination South Chicago, Illinois.  (Sometimes listed as “Pacruic”, “Pecruic” i “Pokrnic”.)

Pocrnić, Tomo, 24, married, Bukovac, destination South Chicago, Illinois.  (Sometimes listed as “Pacruic”, “Pecruic” i “Pokrnic”.)

Smiljanić, Mile, 37, Pisač near Udbina, destination unknown.  His body, even if found, was never identified.

Stanković, Ivan, 33, single, Galgovo, destination New York, NY.  Some sources on the web claim that Stanković was in America previously.  Supposedly, after the death of his wife he returned to take care of some legal matters dealing with her inheritance, and on the way back he lost his life.

Strilić, Ivan, 27, married, Široka Kula, destination South Chicago, Illinois.

Turčin, Stjepan, 36, married, Bratina, destination Youngstown, Ohio.

To this above list we are adding also the name of a Benedictine priest, Josip Perušić (Josef Peruschitz), born in 1871, Bavaria, Germany, but who was of Croatian heritage.  He was on the way to assume the position of a principal in a Catholic High School in Minnesota.  Survivors of the Titanic tragedy witnessed how he refused to enter a safety boat in order to give others the chance to save their lives.

People from Bosnia and Herzegovina who lost their lives:

Bakić, Kerim, 26, married, Bakić, destination Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Bakić, Tido?, 38, married, Bakić, Bosnia, destination Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (Mr Bakić’s last name is often written as Rekić or Kekić, but most probably it is Bakić.)

Sivić, Husein, 40, married, Bakić, destination Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (Sometimes listed as “Husen Sivic”.)

The bodies of the above passengers from Bosnia, even if recovered, were never identified.


Ivan Jalševac, age 29, from Topolovac.  He was married to Kata, who stayed behind in his native village.  He was on his way to New York, NY.  After he was rescued, however, he traveled to Galesburg, Illinois, where he had a friend, Franjo Karun.  Later, he returned to Croatia and died in 1945, according to some sources.

Nikola Lulić was born on February 24, 1883 in the village of Konjsko Brdo, Lika, Croatia.  In 1902, while serving in the Austrian Army, he deserted and immigrated to America.  He went to Chisholm, Minnesota and worked as a miner in the “Alpena Mine”.  In autumn 1911, he came back to Croatia for half a year to visit his family.  At this time, he was already married for the second time.  His second wife, Marta, and his two children lived in Croatia at the time.  When it was time to go back to America he served as an unofficial companion to other immigrants who paid his ticket.  He helped them with translation and advised them of what to expect during the voyage and after their arrival in America.  He boarded the Titanic at Southampton and was on the way to Minnesota.  Mr Lulic survived the sinking and was rescued by the Carpathia.

After arriving in New York, Lulić went to his uncle Ross Rosinić at 118 Tocence (Torrence?) Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.  His Americanized name was “Nicola Lulich”.  After the First World War, Lulić returned to Croatia and earned his living as a farmer, but sometimes he also worked in France as a seasonal worker between the two World Wars.

His wife Marta died long before he did, so he alone had to look after the children of his two marriages.  In his older days, he secluded himself more and more from his fellow villagers of Konjsko Brdo.  Nikola Lulić died in 1962 in Perušić, at the age of 79, in the house of his youngest daughter Mara.  (Milan Gnjatović, in his poem Potonuće broda Titanica - Narodna američka Pjesmarica. St. Louis: Ivan Sikočan, 1913, lists his name as Nikola Lukić, but it should have been Lulić.)

Mara Osman, age 31, married, from Vagovina, Croatia, boarded the Titanic at Southampton and she was going to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  She was rescued by the Carpathia.  After arriving in New York (June 18, 1912), she went to her sister, Mrs. Rudolph Paulovich, at Steelton, Pennsylvania.  (The Immigration Officer incorrectly lists her as single woman and her nationality as Polish.  She is also listed sometimes as “Maria Osman”.  Gnjatović, in his above mentioned poem, lists her as one of the three Croatian survivors.)

Some sources tell us that she was born in 1881 and she married Miško Banski in 1904.  They had a son, Franjo. (Other sources state that they had three sons.)  Whatever the case, it seems that she left her husband and went to America, traveling under her maiden name, Osman.  Later, her son Franjo joined her in the US and he died in California in 1980.  Mara eventually remarried and, supposedly, she died in Wisconsin in 1938.  Details about her life in America are not know to us.

Carpathia was the only ship to come to Titanic’s passengers and crew rescue. 
At the time of Titanic’s sinking Carpathia was on its regular route New York – Rijeka (Croatia). There were 76 Croatians working as crew on the Carpathia – the hero ship. 

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