The Truth About What Happened To The Titanic Orphans

The tragedy of the sinking of the Titanic was a tale of terrible class inequality. According to Titanic Facts, First Class passengers were much more likely than Second and Third Class passengers to get a spot on the lifeboats aboard the doomed ship. Around 63 percent of the ship's passengers died in the icy waters of the Atlantic that night in 1912, but nearly two thirds of them were traveling Third Class. More than three quarters of the 709 Third Class passengers on the Titanic died, while 58 percent of Second Class passengers died, and just 39 percent of those in First Class died.

All That's Interesting tells the story of a pair of Second Class passengers who were lucky enough to survive, but their father, unfortunately, didn't make it. The two young boys — just two and four years old — had been registered under the names Louis and Lola, but as it turned out, those were not their real names, and authorities had a heck of a time figuring out who they really were. The two young survivors spoke no English, only French, and even when authorities were able to find a translator, the boys just answered "Oui" to everything they were asked. No one knew how to figure out who these kids were.

Pictures in the newspapers helped the Titanic orphans find their mother

The media ended up calling the boys the "Titanic orphans." Some genius felt it would be nice to give them some toy boats to play with to take their minds of the fact that they'd almost just died on a boat, and the papers published photos of them playing with the inconsiderate toys. Meanwhile, they stayed in the home of Margaret Hays, a survivor from First Class who lived in Manhattan.

Back in France, a woman named Marcelle Navratil saw their photo in the paper and was overjoyed. She knew the identities of the Titanic orphans. They weren't Louis and Lola, but rather Michel and Edmond, her boys who had been taken from her by their father, with whom she was going through a bitter divorce. Their father, Michel Sr., had taken the boys for Easter weekend, and then tried to run off to America with them on the Titanic in search of a new life.

Marcelle went to New York, confirmed that she was the boys' mother, and took them back home to France, where they both grew to adulthood. Emond passed away in his 40s in 1953, while Michel lived to be 92 years old. He died in 2001, as The New York TImes reported.