This text comes from the stern archive and was first published in 2012 to commemorate the sinking of the Titanic 100 years earlier. The gold pocket watch of a passenger on the “Titanic” was recently sold at an auction for around 1.4 million euros. On this occasion we are republishing the archive piece.

The screams of death deprived him of sleep for the rest of his life. Adolphe Saalfeld, perfumer and bon vivant, sat on one of the benches in lifeboat number three on the night of April 15, 1912, with the clear starry sky above him, the glassy sea below him and the “Titanic” in front of him, leaking and doomed. More than 1,500 people were still on the ship at that time. They tried desperately to escape the rising water and then, clinging to the railing or side of the ship, to escape the safety of falling into the ice-cold water. If the water temperature is minus two degrees, a person dies within minutes.

Adolphe Saalfeld, then 47 years old, was one of the lucky ones that night. And that was where his misfortune began.

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