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Threatened to Shoot With His Pipe and That Saved His Life

This article was published in the Yiddish-language Forward on April 20, 1912.

Louis Pagnalia is a saloonkeeper from Philadelphia who was on the Titanic and who rescued himself with a remarkable idea. He himself described the incident:

“We were all on deck. The women and the children were already in the lifeboats. Then the ship officers shouted: ‘Every man for himself!’ Two lifeboats were left on deck and hundreds of people ran toward them. Into one of them jumped many sailors and the passengers were pushed back. I saw that my last chance to be saved was being lost, when I suddenly had a lucky idea.

“I had in my pocket a simple pipe. I grabbed it angrily, waved it around my head and pointed it at the sailors in the lifeboat.

“‘If you don’t let me in, I will shoot you all to death!’ I shouted. The sailors were frightened. They thought that my pipe was really a revolver, and made a space for me in the lifeboat. That space saved my life.”

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