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
Joseph Bruno Levy
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
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 Saks 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 mans 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
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
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.