Honoring Local Casualties of the March 25, 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
Members of the Triangle Fire Remembrance Coalition, including East Harlem resident LuLu LoLo Pascale, are working on establishing a permanent memorial to commemorate the Triangle Factory Fire and hoping to engage the community through creative educational activities in the historical implications of the fire.
Since 2006, LuLu LoLo Pascale has honored each 10 of the East Harlem victims by chalking their names and ages at the site of their homes as part of CHALK, a public art project commemorating the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.
Coalition member Michael Hirsch, who has been cleaning up grave sites of victims that have been uncared for and has researched the victims records, provided the following grave site photographs and background information on Triangle Fire victims from East Harlem:
East Harlem Triangle Fire Victims
Catherine Uzzo *
Rose Liermark *
Sarafina and Teresina Saracino
- The names above followed by an asterisk differ in some way from the names in David Von Drehle’s book.
Hirsch’s research also uncovered six fatalities of the Triangle Fire who have not appeared in any previous history or accounting of them. One of these lived in East Harlem.
Yetta Berger– 18 years old, married, Death Certificate # 10413, 177 East 109th street.
Yetta seems to be the only victim who was never reported anywhere. Her name was completely lost to history. With the information I found on her NYC death certificate, I believe I have matched her to No. 66 in the Red Cross Relief Report of 1913.
No.66. (Austrian), a girl of 17, married, deserted, and living with parents, died in hospital from injuries received in the fire. The girl had been seduced at the age of 14 by a man who was later forced by his relatives to marry her. He deserted her; a baby was born, which died; and she returned to her parents. They did not want her to go to work, but she was anxious for some money of her own, and she had been working only ten days when the disaster occurred
Yetta Berger was a married, 18 year old from Austria who died in St Vincent’s Hospital from her injuries. The exact cause of death was “Fracture of spine, left femur, right leg, internal hemorrhage, jumped from window conflagration 23 Washington Place.”
Yetta is buried at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Queens, NY. The burial society is “The Independent Order of the Free Sons of Judah,” Gate 10L. The map of this burial society was lost long ago and this section is quite large but Yetta is actually rather easy to find. She is about 40-50 yards in, just off the main path to the left. The grave is in extremely good condition but the burial society, as a whole, is not so the best time to visit here is in the early spring or late fall and winter.
Catherine Uzzo (22), Operator, DC# 10108, (formerly Carrie Ozzo), 1990 2nd Avenue
Catherine was born in Italy and had lived in the United States for 2 years when she died from her injuries at Bellevue Hospital on 3/25/1911. The cause of death was “multiple fractures, leapt from windows.” Catherine was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Queens, NY on 3/30/1911. Her grave is located in Section 40, Range 19, Row L, Grave # 18. The stone and grave are in perfect condition. Catherine is buried with her father Gaspar. Along with being inscribed on the memorial marker, the surname Uzzo was used by her older sister on her NYC marriage license a few years earlier.
Annie Nicholas, 18, DC# 10203, Operator, 126 East 110th Street
Annie was a Jewish girl born in Russia and had lived in the United States for about 17 years when she died from her injuries at Bellevue Hospital on 3.25.1911. The cause of death was “Burns of face & body, fracture of femur, jumped from window, 29 Washington Place.” She was buried at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Queens, NY on 3/27/1911. From the information on her death certificate, I have matched her to this entry in the Report of the Union Relief Committee:
45. A. N., 17 years old, button-hole, sewer, earned $12.00 a week, union member, very capable girl, killed. Father S, 28 years old, upholsterer, gets odd jobs only. Mother, 45 years old, M, 21 years old, earns $5.00 a week; B., 16 years old, tendency towards tuberculosis, cannot work in factory, goes to high school; two children at school. Board of Health says B. is not tubercular, but is delicate. $35.00 given for funeral expenses, $65.00 emergent relief, $500 paid in lump sum. Total, $600.00.
Annie is buried in the Lemberger CG ANS Askeness burial society, Path BL, Gate 6. She is fairly easy to find but, again, the best time to visit Mt. Zion is in the early spring or late fall and winter when the plant growth is at a minimal. Her headstone is in very good condition.
Rose Oringer (19), Cutter, DC# 10112, 65 East 101st Street **
Rose was born in Austria and had lived in the United States for 10 years. She died of her injuries at St Vincent’s Hospital on 3/25/1911. The cause of death was. “Fracture of left femur, thigh, & tibia, internal hemorrhaging, jumped from window.” Rose was buried at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Queens NY on 3/27/1911. Her address was previously unknown and was therefore not included in the Von Drehle accounting.
With information contained on her death certificate I have matched Rose to this entry in the Final Report of the Union Relief Committee:
46. R. O., 19 years old, earned $10.00 a week, union member, killed. Father tailor, earns $8.00 to $10.00 a week; mother G., rheumatic, accustomed to go to Sharon Springs every Spring for rheumatism; G., 20 years old, driver at Macy’s; I., 17 years old, three under school ages, another brother, P., an actor, does not live home. Jewish Burial Society, Adas Israel, buried R. $280.00 relief given family. Total, $280.00
Rose is buried in the Erste Oleszycer Kuv burial society, Path D2L, Gate 8. The grave is fairly easy to find and in extremely good condition although, unfortunately, her photograph is missing. Many triangle graves, at one time, displayed photographs of the victims but only about 5 of these fragile and precious relics remain today.
Rose Liermark (19), Tucker, DC# 10064 (formerly Rose Lermarck), 177 East 100th Street.
Rose was born in Russia and had lived in the United States for about 3 1/2 years when she died at 29-33 Washington Place on 3/25/1911. Her cause of death was “General burns in burning building.” She was the 17th victim identified in the early morning hours of Sunday March 26, 1911 and was buried later that same day at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Queens NY. The burial society is Second Krementchuger Verbein, Path 39R, Gate 11. Her white marble, half tree, stone is badly worn but still legible. Some images are attached below.
Masha Gerstein (17), Examiner, DC# 10288, 325 East 101st Street.
Masha was born in Russia and had lived in the US for about 4 months when she died on 3/25/1911 at 29-33 Washington Place. The cause of death was “fracture of skull, jumped from window conflagration.” Masha was buried on Monday, March 27, 1911 by the Hebrew Free Burial Society in Mt. Richmond Cemetery (also known as the Mt. Richmond Section of Ocean View Cemetery) in Staten Island, NY. Her grave was unmarked until the late 1990s. Mollie is located in Section 22, Row, 9, grave # 35. Like Mt. Zion, the best time to visit Mt. Richmond is in the early spring or fall and winter. It is a little challenging to find Masha because the cemetery is really not marked very well and the grounds are uneven and difficult to walk. Luckily, the 22 victims of the Triangle fire buried at Mt. Richmond are all grouped together, over five rows, on the extreme right hand side of the cemetery, and about 50 yards in from the rows of new graves located at the front of the burial area. This rather unhappy cemetery is entirely an indigent burial ground of the Jewish people.
Ida Brodsky (15), Examiner, DC# 10239, 308 East 102nd Street (this address differs from the Von Drehle list and period newspaper lists).
Ida was born in Russia and had lived in the United States for just nine months when she perished on the ninth floor of the Ashe Building on March 25, 1911. The cause of death was. “Asphyxiation of smoke, charred conflagration, 23 Washington Place.” Ida was the 86th victim identified on Sunday, March 26, 1911. She was buried at Mt. Richmond Cemetery in Staten Island, NY, on Monday March 27, 1911 in Section 22, row 8, grave 40.
Sarah Brodsky (21), Examiner, DC# 10254, 205 East 99th Street.
Sarah was a Jewish girl from Russia who had lived in the United States for 4-1/2 years when she died on the 9th floor of the Ashe Building on March 25, 1911. As in Ida’s case the cause of death was “Asphyxiation of smoke, charred conflagration, 23 Washington Place.” She is buried at Mt. Richmond Cemetery in Section 22, row 8, grave 41.
Sarafina (25) and Teresina Saracino (20), 118 East 119 Street
The Saracino family is listed in the Red Cross Relief Report of 1912, a fragile copy of which can be viewed at the Research Library of the New York Public Library:
No. 73. Two sisters, 25 and 21 years old, were killed leaving an old father tuberculosis-and a brother of 22 who was out of work and who earned only $7.00 or $8.00 per week when employed. Temporary relief was given liberally, the funeral bills were paid and $1000.00 was appropriated for the parents. The family moved to Brooklyn to live with a married daughter. The old people wished to go back to Italy, where they had several relatives, and plans were made to send them with the married daughter when she should go for a contemplated visit. The father’s health grew worse, however and made them decide not to go. A pension of $25.00 was given until November, and then, as it seemed probable that they would continue to live in Brooklyn, the remainder of the $1000.00 ($825.00) was placed with the Brooklyn Bureau of Charities. The father died just at this time, and an additional $100.00 was given to meet the expenses of his funeral. ($1502.50)
Teresina Saracino’s NYC death certificate # is 10194, Serafina’s is 10195 and their father Vincent’s is 21223 (Kings County). Both girls were operators at the Triangle factory and their cause of death was “multiple injuries from fire, 29 Washington Place.” The two sisters had lived in the United States for two years.
Teresina was the 68th victim identified on Saturday March 26. Serafina was the 69th. Both girls were buried at Calvary Cemetery in Queens, NY on Tuesday, March 28, 1911.
The Saracino family’s final resting place is located in Section 40, Range 17, Row D, grave # 17. The head stone and grave are in extremely good condition. The following is the English translation of the Italian inscription on the headstone at Calvary Cemetery:
In Memory of Vincenzo Saracino
died, November 9, 1911
In memory of Sarafina Saracino
born June 13, 1883
died March 25, 1911
In memory of Teresina Saracino
Born May 25,1895
died March 25, 1911
For more information on the Triangle Factory Fire:
Triangle: Remembering The Fire (HBO)
The Triangle Fire: A Documentary Film
Soliloquy For A Seamstress
Triangle Fire Remembrance Coalition
CHALK (Annual Sidewalk Commemoration)
Cornell University’s Kheel Center online exhibit
Triangle: The Fire That Changed America, By David Von Drehle
The Triangle Fire, by Leon Stein
Recent News Articles
East Harlem poet honors memory of Triangle Shirtwaist victims a century after factory fire (New York Daily News, March 29, 2011)
Triangle fire not forgotten (New York Daily News, March 24, 2011)
Cien años de suciedad (El Diario-La Prensa, 3 Marzo 2011)
The Fire That Changed Everything (The New York Times, February 22, 2011)
100 Years Later, the Roll of the Dead in a Factory Fire Is Complete (The New York Times, February 21, 2011)