Twins separated at birth…a wild story

Okay, many of you may have heard this story already, ’cause it is kind of an old one, but it’s new to me and I thought it interesting enough to share.

Recently Jack Yufe passed away.  Jack Yufe, “Who’s he?” you say.  He is the identical twin of Oskar Stohr, both born in Trinidad in 1933.  The exceptional thing about these twin’s story is not only the fact that their parents separated them when they were only six months old, Jack staying with his father and Oskar staying with his mother, but also the fact that despite polar opposite upbringings, they had remarkable quirky similarities.

Jack was raised by his father in Trinidad, where the two were born, and Venezuela.  He served in the Israeli Navy, worked on a kibbutz in Israel and eventually settled in San Diego, California. Oskar was taken to Germany by his mother, baptized Catholic by his maternal grandmother, and served in Hitler’s Youth.  It occurred to them later that if they had ever met on the battlefield they may have killed one another.  How freaky, and sad, is that!

They met briefly in 1954 at the urging of their mother, Leisl, but having nothing in common, due to the different ways in which they were nurtured or raised, parted ways after a week, only keeping in touch over the subsequent years with holiday cards. When Ona, Jack’s wife, read an article about a twin study at the University of Minnesota in 1979 she encouraged Jack and Oskar to volunteer, in hopes they’d develop a closer relationship. They agreed and reunited at an airport in Minneapolis.

When they met again, the physical similarities were quite astonishing…both had mustaches; both wore glasses, rounded at the corners; and both had receding hairlines.  Even the clothes they wore were similar, blue shirts with epaulets.  Through the study they found other similarities….same gait in their walk, both loved butter and spicy food, both flushed the toilet before and after using it, both read the ending of books first, both wrapped their writing utensils with tape to get a better grip and both spoke at exactly the same rate, albeit in different languages.  Classic example that gives credibility to the argument of predetermined characteristics that make you who you are, despite crazy different childhood environments.  A documentary was made called Oskar and Jack, although it’s a German film and I couldn’t find it anywhere on Netflix etc…

So, in spite of the fact that they would not have ever been “friends” growing up due to their contradictory upbringings, ultimately they could not deny their unmistakable similarities. I just thought it was a fascinating story to share.  Know any twins?  They can be part of the study here!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!


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