****I am sad to announce the passing of my brother, Anthony Grillo on October 21st, 2004. Please keep visiting, being patient with the hopeful continuation of his website. Sincerely, Vivian Grillo****

 

Party aboard the Doria-Edit.jpg (70120 bytes)

A Recollection
Joseph Bruno Levy

I was ending my honeymoon and returning to Princeton University to finish work on my Ph.D. We left from Genoa. The second day out I asked for my cabin to be changed to the opposite side of the ship, as I was not getting the sunshine that I wanted. This was done, and I was moved to cabin 40 in First Class. I knew Capt. Calamai, and became friends with many of the officers (I was born in Italy, so my Italian is native).

At the time of the hit with the Stockholm I was in the First Class Bar in the stern. When I saw the list the ship took almost at once, I went to my cabin with my wife, had her put on flat heeled shoes and a heavy coat, took both our passports (mine British, hers Argentine), all her jewels and all the cash in the cabin safety deposit box. Our lifebelts also. I took my wife to where the chaos was, and some ships had already arrived (the Cape Ann of the coastguard eventually took my wife).

The line was disorderly so I tried to calm people down in English, Italian, French, Spanish and Greek. To little avail. I went back inside to look for survivors, and there gave my lifejacket to an old Italian lady who was crying that she could not swim. I saw the First Class Bar bartender going back to get the money out of the till for the Company - I told him to forget it, but he went back anyway. A piece of metal fell on him and broke his back - I later visited him in the Hospital in Brooklyn, I believe.

By this time the list was very bad, so I went back up to the command deck: there was only one door that opened to the outside, and people were killing themselves to get out first. I wedged myself in the door, looking out, tried to calm people down and let them out one at a time. Some idiot pushed me hard in the back, in his hurry to get out, and I slid down the deck (oily and wet) and hit the railings hard, breaking both my legs (hairline fractures). I fainted, and when I came to, there was no one around, and silence except for a child crying. Crawling around on my knees I found him. It was Dickie, son of actress Ruth Roman, who had left the ship with the nanny, leaving the boy. I talked to him, he stopped crying, and I told him we were going for a swim, since I thought the thing would not float much longer. When I saw what to me looked like sharks in the water, I decided to sit, wait, and drown.

Suddenly I heard a call in bad English from a lifeboat. I found a rope, tied it to the railings, and lowered Dickie and myself into it. It had no oars, only some handles in the middle which sailors were moving back and forth to turn the propeller. We passed several ships and pointed towards one whose prow was missing! I complained, but a sailor said "Stockholm, very good ship!". We went on board and were all locked in a third class salon. I broke a window, crawled out, and went into the first open cabin to get blankets for Dickie who was shivering. The Swedes treated us terribly, regarding food, clothes etc.

Many hours later I visited the Swedish doctor to look at my legs. Without looking he said "Take these aspirins and get looked after in NY": I did not accept the aspirins. We arrived in New York later than anyone else, due to the slow speed the Stockholm was making (I did see the Doria sink about 11:05 AM). Ruth Roman was at the dock, took her child, did not thank me and went to the photographers. I sat there not knowing how to find my wife. The police did not have her registered in either her married or her single name.

Suddenly Wally Toscanini (daughter of conductor Arturo Toscanini) that I knew from the Scala in Milan, found me and told me my wife was at the Plaza. There I went at once. First to a Doctor to bandage my legs, to Sak’s to buy clothes, then to Princeton to get my checkbook and clothes, and back to NY to buy my wife everything. The Plaza was wonderful, kept sending baskets of fruit and bottles of scotch, and after two weeks gave me a 50% discount. I wrote to thank them on the 40th. anniversary but they did not reply to my letter. My son was born in Argentina on July 25, 1957 at 11:05 PM US time. He is called Andrea D. Levy. Andrea is a man’s name in Italy, as you probably know. Well, this is what first comes to mind - there is a lot more in my memory!

Andrea Doria Passanger, Bound Here, Describe Rescue
Unknown Newspaper Article

Just before the collision Mr. and Mrs. Levy were at a party in the Andrea Doria's main lounge. When it happened "things started falling and the officers said it was nothing to worry about, the boat was only turning," Mr. Levy explained. "We hung onto rails and got to our cabins," continued the Princeton University graduate student. We gathered life belts, a warm sweater for my wife, passports, jewels and a fur coat.


On the promenade deck, portside, people were screaming, shouting, praying and crewmembers were issuing commands in Italian. I understood the words "Keep calm". "The fog lifted. By forming a human chain the men were able to pass the women and children along. The last time I saw my wife, she went up through a door to the boat deck.' "Most of the crew was on the port side, so we had to help each other" he recounted.


Mr. Levy received leg injuries when he was slapped on the back and slid across the boat, down the deck. Crawling along the edge of the deck, he clambered down a rope into an awaiting lifeboat. It took an hour-and-a-half for the motored lifeboat, which was towing another lifeboat, to reach the Stockholm.


On board the Stockholm, Mr.Levy stayed out on the deck, telling stories to three-year-old Richard Hall, son of screen actress Ruth Roman, and another child who had been separated from his family. Mr. Levy said that he was surprised that the Stockholm made it to port. A crewmember had told him that if it had been rough seas, they would have had to abandon the Stockholm. On arrival in New York a friend informed Mr. Levy that the Pvt. William H. Thomas, a military transport, had rescued his wife.

 

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