TITANIC SURVIVOR STORIES - THE NAVRATIL CHILDREN
One of the most well-known stories about Titanic’s survivors is that of the little Navratil children, also known as the “Titanic Orphans.” Michel, 4, and Edmond, 2, were traveling on Titanic with their father under the false surname “Hoffman.”
After separating from and losing custody of his two young boys to his wife Marcelle, Michel Navratil decided to take his boys and emigrate to America. While his boys were staying with him over the Easter holiday, he traveled with them from France to England where he boarded Titanic under the alias “Louis M. Hoffman, ” a widower. While onboard the Ship, this second-class passenger kept to himself as much as possible to avoid conversation with others, and only let the boys out of his sight once.
How the Navratil Children Survived the Titanic Sinking
After Titanic’s collision Mr. Navratil wrapped up Michel and Edmond warmly and placed them in Collapsible D. Once on Carpathi,a it was discovered the boys spoke no English and had no parent or guardian with them. First-Class passenger Margaret Hays volunteered to take both boys to her home in New York and keeping them together until family members could be contacted and arrangements made.
Back in France their mother, Marcelle, did not know the whereabouts of her boys until she saw their picture in the newspaper. After identifying herself as the boys’ mother, the White Star Line gave Marcelle passage to New York on Olympic where she reunited with her boys. They returned to France on the Oceanic.
Michel Navratil’s body was recovered from the ocean and identified as Louis M. Hoffman. Presumed to be of Jewish descent because of his name, he was buried in the Baron de Hirsch Cemetery in Halifax.
Photo credit: Library of Congress