A square plot, with a small group of ten black-granite headstones for victims of the Titanic, stands within the Baron de Hirsch Cemetery in Halifax. The graves forms two lines of five equally spaced grave markers. The graves have a bevelled top and inscription in sans-serif capital letters. The inscription carries the number assigned to the victim when their body was recovered from the sea beneath the wording 'Died April 15, 1912'. The graves were each paid for by the White Star Line.
The ten bodies are all male victims, but only two were identified as second-class passenger Michel Navratil and first-class saloon steward Frederick Wormald. The other eight men were not positively identified, but believed to be members of the crew by virtue of their clothing and personal effects.
The Titanic graves from a small plot within the larger Baron de Hirsch Cemetery, the local cemetery for the Beth Israel Synagogue in Halifax. The cemetery was established in Halifax in 1893, adjacent to Halifax's Fairview Lawn Cemetery. Baron de Hirsch Cemetery is a private cemetery.
Despite being buried in a Jewish cemetery none in fact were of the Jewish faith, but were mistakenly identified as such by physical examination. The mistake occurred when a local rabbi identified firstly eight victims as Jewish and subsequently another ten victims as Jewish. He took it upon himself to direct undertakers to transfer these 18 victims to the Baron de Hirsch cemetery for internment, before the Sabbath.
The authorities, on discovering that bodies had been taken without authority, halted any further burials at Baron de Hirsch, but allowed the first eight burials to remain. They subsequently granted permission for a further two burials, yet again there was no assurance either victim was Jewish.
The story of Michel Navratil is of particular note He was travelling under an assumed name, Louis M Hoffman, with his two young sons. Custody of the young children rested with the mother following her separation from Michel Navratil. However, he conspired to take his young sons to America and travelled to Southampton before boarding a ship for New York. His plan unravelled when that ship, the Titanic, struck an iceberg. His young sons were placed in a lifeboat and survived, but Michel Navratil lost his life.
In the aftermath of the sinking his young sons were called the 'Navratil Orphans' by the popular press, until they were reunited with their mother following the publication of their photograph in the newspapers.
- Eaton, J. P. & Haas, C. A. (1994) Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy (2nd edition) Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd.
- Hind, Philip et al (2013) Mr Michel Navratil Oxford: Encyclopedia Titanica, http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/michel-navratil.html
- Hind, Philip et al (2013) Mr Henry Frederick Charles Wormald Oxford: Encyclopedia Titanica, http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/frederick-william-wormald.html
- Jewish World, The (1912) At Halifax's Jewish cemetery, a Titanic section Schenectady, NY: http://jewishworldnews.org/2012/04/05/at-halifaxs-jewish-cemetery-a-titanic-section/
- New York Times, The (1912) Funeral ship in with 190 dead New York: The New York Times, 1 May 1912, p 4.
- Province of Nova Scotia, The (1912) Titanic: A Significant Part of Nova Scotia's Unique Maritime Heritage Halifax: Province of Nova Scotia
- Province of Nova Scotia, The (1912) Titanic Cemeteries in Halifax Halifax: Province of Nova Scotia
- Wormstedt, Bill (2011) An analysis of the bodies recovered from the Titanic Washington, WA: http://wormstedt.com/titanic/analysis.html