The Story of Jack and Oskar

The Story of Jack and Oskar

During the Nazi regime, two twins with a Jewish father separated at birth. One grew up a Nazi and the other one grew up a Jew. They met again 25 years later.

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Children have little to no say in how they are going to be raised in life. Identical twins Jack Yufe and Oskar Stöhr, who were split up and lived completely separate lives from the age of six months, are the perfect example to illustrate this.

They were born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on January 16, 1933 — the same year that Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany. Their parents parted ways half a year after the twins' birth, each taking one child. From this point, their upbringing would be markedly different, most significantly their experiences of how the ensuing war shaped the world around them.

Jack remained in Trinidad, at that time a British colony, with his Romanian Jewish father. With a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm station on their island and U-boats lurking in the waters surrounding them, for Trinidad, war was on the doorstep despite being far from the front lines. A U.S. Naval Base was established on the island in 1941.

Their German Catholic mother returned to her homeland, taking Oskar and their older sister. Oskar was baptized with his mother’s family name, Stöhr, and raised by his strict grandmother. Like many of his peers in Germany back then, he became an avid admirer of Hitler and the warped ideology he preached. Oskar would have been six-years-old when he was enrolled as a member of the Hitler Youth (membership was made compulsory for all children in 1936).

Both of them were aware they had a sibling somewhere across the ocean but they spent the first 21 years of their lives knowing little of each other. Jack lived for a while with an aunt in Venezuela — his only Jewish relative who survived the concentration camps in Europe. At age 16 he traveled to the newly formed state of Israel where he served in the Israeli Navy, and later headed back West to settle in San Diego, California with his father.

Their first encounter was awkward, to say the least. In 1954, Jack traveled to Essen, West Germany to finally meet his twin. They shared little common language, but Oskar made it clear that being Jewish and having been in Israel were topics Jack should keep under wraps during his trip, including within the Stöhr household.

When they saw each other, it was almost spooky how similarly dressed they were. Both had donned similar light-colored sports jackets and shirts and wore pretty much the same style of rimmed glasses.

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