As Jack Yufe died at 82 years old, on November 9, the story of the twins raised apart is remembered by the world. After the Second World War, people discovered the lives of Jack Yufe and Oskar Stöhr which seemed taken straight out of a drama movie. Jack was Jewish and lived in the Trinidad British colony and Oskar was a Nazi and lived in Germany, being on two opposite sides of the great war.
The twins were born in 1933, on January 16 in Trinidad, more specifically in Port-of-Spain. After a short time, their parents divorced. As a result, Jack stayed in Trinidad with the father, a Jew born in Romania, while Oskar left for Europe with an older sister and the mother, who was German. The latter grew up in Sudetenland, a Czechoslovak region annexed to Germany by Adolf Hitler in 1938.
As they lived through the hardships of war, Oskar changed his family name to Stöhr, as Yufe sounded too Jewish in Nazi Germany. Jack was also an outsider in the beginning as a white child in the black community of Trinidad. However, he moved to Israel in his teenage years, where he was part of the Sea Scouts, a youth organization for people who pursued joining the Royal Navy. In the war, Oskar served Germany, while Jack served Great Britain.
The twins finally met in 1954 at a train station in West Germany, when they were both 21 years old. They disregarded each other in the beginning, but after some time spent together they came to terms with their similarities and in the end became the brothers they should have been all their lives.
Jack and Oskar were reunited once more by a project conducted between 1979 and 1999 by the Minnesota University, during a meeting for “Twins Reared Apart”, a Minnesota study.
Oskar died in 1997 of lung cancer, which tremendously affected Jack. As he related, he couldn’t join the funeral as he thought that it would confuse the family seeing the same person both dead and alive in the same place.
Reflecting on the story of the twins raised apart, we can notice at what extent the places we live in can shape the course of our lives. In this case, the differences between the Trinidad colony and Hitler’s Germany rendered completely disparate fates.
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