Mr. David Samoilescu (Dave Samuels)

David Samoilescu (1878 - 1915), 36, was a Jewish music hall entertainer who went by the stage name of Dave Samuels. He toured Europe and Australia and briefly returned to the United States before sailing overseas again aboard Lusitania for more shows in Europe.  He lived in Bronx, New York, United States with his wife Lizzie and their three children.  Samoilescu was lost in the Lusitania disaster on 7 May 1915.  His body was recovered, #99, and is buried in Ireland.


David Samoilescu was born on 7 November 1878 as David Samoilovici in Panciu, Rumania (now Romania). He was the son of Berla and Anna Samoilovici, and David had an older sister named Rochelle and an older brother named Haim. He had two more you ger siblings, Jerome and Laura. David married a local girl, Elisabeta, nicknamed "Lizzie." David and Lizzie immigrated to the United States around 1900 and settled in Bronx, New York, United States. They lived on East 149th Street in the Bronx, then a neighborhood of predominantly second-generation German immigrants. The couple had four or five children, with Tetta, Frida, Julius, and Hannah being known. David and Lizzie were both music hall performers. The press described David Samoilescu as a "Specialist in Hebrew Comic Monologues," however it is not clear if "Hebrew" meant the language or merely as a synonym for Jew. As a comic, he toured shows in Europe and Australia. In the spring of 1915, David briefly returned to the United States before sailing overseas again aboard Lusitania for more shows in Europe. David was traveling aboard Lusitania under his stage name of Dave Samuels. Samoilescu was lost in the sinking. His body was recovered, #99, with $4,000 in gold, plus personal jewelry with it. All the recovered jewelry was returned to Lizzie, presumably aboard the SS Orduna on 8 July 1915. Lizzie traveled to England after David's death and returned in December aboard the St. Louis. Whether she was traveling as an entertainer or for personal reasons is not known. At the time she was 30 years of age.

Lizzie's claims

In an initial 1915 motion Lizzie stated David's total worth at no more than $1000.00. When the Mixed Claims Commission was taking claims against Germany for losses in the Lusitania disaster, Lizzie brought suit against Germany on behalf of herself and her three children. Lizzie claimed damages of $520,000.00, equivalent to over $11 million in 2011 US dollars. Lizzie could not furnish any financial records on David's earnings but testified that David earned more than $500.00 per week, of which he gave $300 to her for personal expenses. Lizzie also claimed that David sent the family $2000.00 for two months of vacation each summer. The Court, finding out that the Samoilescus lived in an apartment for which they paid $25 or $35 per month, believed that Lizzie's claims for David's income should be proportional to the rent they paid. Of the $520,000.000 claimed, $20,000.00 was for lost personal property, including $15,000.00 in lost English gold currency. Lizzie appended a claim of $10,050.00 for her own jewelry after the case was filed, including a platinum brooch ($3500.00), a platinum afternoon ring ($1500.00), a solitaire ring ($1000), a pair of earrings ($2500.00), which the court referred to as "et cetera." Lizzie also claimed that in the sinking, she had lost an expensive wardrobe, including "a fur coat, lined with sable and trimmed with beaver collar and cuffs, which he had bought a short time before sailing and for which he had paid $3000.00." Additionally, Lizzie also claimed that David was carrying 2,500 British gold sovereigns The court docket states that Cunard had returned all of David's recovered jewelry and had no evidence that he had left any additional valuables with the Purser, James McCubbin. The court could not find any corroborating evidence or witnesses to Lizzie's claims and stated that it did not find them to be unconvincing. Despite the tone of the court docket and the Mixed Claims Commission's reluctance to accept Lizzie's claims, the court did not reprimand her. Instead, she was awarded $25,000.00, her children were awarded $25,000.00, and as administratrix of David Samoilescu's estate, she was awarded an additional $2,000. Lizzie took great care of the money awarded to her. She continued to reside in New York after her husband's death and helped financially set up a few cousins ​​and grandchildren in England.

Links of interest

David as a child with his parents and siblings Scam Husband Died in Wreck (Romanian) She is a Romanian woman who became rich after the wreck! (Romanian)
Editor's Note: Lizzie's claim was not published in the book format of the Mixed Claims Commission, but historian Jim Kalafus was able to Provide me with a copy. It will be transcribed sometime in the future. Contributors Lynne Jacobs, USA Jim Kalafus, USA References Jacobs, Lynne. "Samoilovici Family with Berla and Anna, my in-laws' family." Flickr. Online. Accessed 16 February 2012. < > "Scam husband's death in wreck!" Romania Online. Online. Accessed 16 February 2012. < > "She is Romanian woman became rich after the wreck!" Newspad Stiri. Online. Accessed 16 February 2012. <,421588.html >

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