Remembering The Girls Who Never Walked Home


The victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire — 146 people, mostly young immigrant Jewish and Italian women — never got to walk home from the scene of the tragedy in Greenwich Village 100 years ago. So on Sunday, two days after the actual anniversary, a symbolic march took place in their memory.

As part of a commemorative program sponsored by the Museum at Eldridge Street, on the site of the Eldridge Street Synagogue, 146 men and women, dressed in period costumes and mourners’ veils, walked in silence from the factory — now an NYU building — to the museum a mile and a half away on the Lower East Side.

The marchers, in the fashion of an early 20th-century Yiddish funeral cortege, stopped at the homes of five of the fire’s victims.

“So many of the young girls lived in the neighborhood,” though none was a member of Eldridge Street Synagogue, says Hanna Griff-Sleven, program director at the museum.

Some 300 people attended a memorial program at the museum, which featured drummer Joey Weisenberg and Cantor-guitarist Jeff Warschauer.

Many descendants of people who died in the fire attended the program, Griff-Sleven says. “It was very intense. Almost everyone shed a tear.”