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18th July, 1955
I will try to answer as fully as I can remember, the questions you asked me in your recent letter of July 10th, 1955.
Q. You asked how I learned what was happening.
A. A young Danish boy came to the part of the third class where I was. He was looking for his sweetheart, who was also there. He gave us lifebelts. I could understand him quite well, but although he and and his girlfriend wanted and urged me to go up with them I just couldn't believe that this wonderful ship could possibly be in real trouble. I was so seasick that all I wanted was to be left alone so I could lie down. I was fully clothed and now had a lifebelt. I am sorry but I do not know the names of either of these two young people.
Q. Why I finally decided to go up on deck?
A. I finally could hear the commotion overhead increasing and the ship did not move ahead, so I decided to go up, even though I still felt so very ill. So some after midnight, about 12.30 a.m. I did go up. There I saw practically everyone on their news praying. At this time I met a young school freind [sic] of mine, Alfred Wikcklund, from my own home country. He helped me get into the lifebelt. He told me he was going back down as he felt he would rather die in bed. I never saw him again.
Q. Why was it difficult for the Third Class people to get to life boats?
A. The stairway was closed. It seems that those in charge were sure that the ship would be saved, and I suppose did not think it best to have more people above than necessary. After Alfred went back downstairs I got talking to a young Swedish gitl who was with two friends [sic] who had been "home" and were returning to the United States. They knew about an emergency stairway and showed us where it was and so that is how I got up to where the life boats were; the girl too.
Q. You asked about my thoughts as I passed the Banquet Hall?
A. We were quite awed at the splendour there. The tables were so beautifully set and all the furniture, and everything about this huge room was out of this world to both of us. We even thought of going in and helping ourselves, but decided we might have to pay, so didn't.
Q. Did Third Class passengers have same chance as other to reach safety?
A. Just shortly after the Swedish girl and I got above, by using the emergency stairway, the main stairway doors were opened and those below could then get up. Until then there was no help of any kind accorded to Third Class passengers, So, it was only in the very last desperate moments that Third Class passengers were given any chance to reach safety.
A few other observations and things I remember:
On the Carpathia I saw the Danish boy's sweetheart. He was the one I mentioned giving me a lifebelt. She was simply frantic and hysterical as she had become separated from her boy freind. She later lost her mind and was sent back to Denmark.
I saw a Swedish couple and their five children kiss each other goodbye, and then they all jumped overboard. (This was while I was still on the Titanic.
After we were in lifeboats, those who papers or any articles that would burn, lit these, thus making flares. In this way the lifeboats kept going in the same direction, and not getting scattered in various directions. In the morning we were sighted by the Carpathia, and we were taken aboard her in the early hours, about 8.30 a.m. I might also add that, though the ocean was quite calm, two lifeboats did overturn, - at least that is all I saw capsize.
It seems strange to me now, but all I could think of while all this was happening was that I must get to America. After safe, and on the Carpathia, I was very upset, and no doubt, in a case of shock, from the experience I had just come through.
1. Spelling and punctuation have been preserved, where possible.
2. Anna's account to the Tacoma Daily News of April 30, 1912 can be found here. Unfortunately, there is much that is dubious.
3. An article on Anna's claim after the sinking is here