On December 30, 1903,
three of the Eger sisters and Marian's two children attended an
afternoon matinee of Mr. Bluebeard at Chicago's newest
luxury playhouse, the Iroquois Theater. When a fire broke
out on stage during the second act, it soon spread to the
auditorium. The Eger party of five was among the six
hundred victims in America's worst theater disaster.
Iroquois fire took the lives of three of Morris and
Jennie Blum Eger's ten children, and two of their
Sabine Eger age twenty-seven
Eger Bloom* age thirty-two
Marian Eger Reiss age thirty-five
Ernest Reiss age eleven, Marian's son
Reiss age ten, Marian's daughter
The amily had emigrated from
Czechoslovakia, Austria in two groups, one in 1885 and a second in
1891. Morris Eger (1834-1915) married Jennie Blum
(1835-1905) in 1860. Morris’s company, Eger &
Co., operated a pair of cigar stores in
Chicago, specializing in Havana cigars. Several of
his sons worked in the stores.
Sabine (b.1875) lived with her parents at 3760
Indiana Avenue in Chicago and taught at the Moseley
school. She had attended high school there.
Bloom (b. c.1872) sometimes went by Rosa. Her body
was found at Rolston's Undertaking. In
1896 she had married New York native, Henry Max Bloom
(1871-1938), and they had a child that same year,
Robert Eger Bloom. Robert died at age seven a year before the
Iroquois fire, in January 1903, so
Henry was still grieving over the loss of his son
when he lost his wife as well. Henry
Bloom was a wholesale clothing manufacturer,
successful enough that in 1900 the family had a
Swedish servant to help with their home at 4226
Vincennes Avenue in Chicago. Two years after the
fire, Henry married Frances Guthmann, with
whom he had two daughters.
and her husband lived at 4244 Vincennes Avenue, just
down the street from Rose and Henry. Marian Eger Reiss (b.1868) had married a
fellow Hungarian immigrant, Arnim Reiss (1865-1942)
in 1891.† Their first child, Ernest H. Reiss, was
born in 1892 and his sister Erna S. Reiss the
following year. Like his father-in-law, Arnim was a
cigar maker. He immigrated to America in 1884. Two
years after the fire he married one of Marian's
younger sisters, Louise Eger (1881-1940).
body was identified by their older brother, Emil
Eger (1866-1945) and Rose’s by Emil’s brother in law, Dr. Henry E.
Goldberger. (Emil was married to Minnie Goldberger.)
Sam Spielberger, Albert Eger and Otto Fauti
identified the three Reiss family members.
were buried in the Waldheim Jewish Cemetery in
Forest Park, Illinois.
Discrepancies and addendum
none-Chicago newspapers reported that Morris and
Jennie Eger were left childless by the Iroquois
fire, an inaccuracy. Seven still lived in
* On the
burial permit for Rosa, and in some newspaper lists,
her name was spelled as Blum rather than Bloom.
census worker's handwriting is inaccurately
interpreted by current-day recognition software as
being Russ instead of Reiss.