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One Twin Was a Nazi, the Other a Jew

Jack Yufe's death highlights his unusual family tale
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2015 8:08 AM CST
One Twin Was a Nazi, the Other a Jew
A 1979 photo of Jack Yufe, left, and his twin brother, Oskar.   (Robert Lachman/Los Angeles Times via AP)

A California man named Jack Yufe died this week at age 82, and his life story is so fascinating that the AP likens it to a Hollywood script nobody would believe; the Los Angeles Times draws a comparison to a "tabloid headline." The reason? Yufe was born in Trinidad along with an identical twin brother, but their parents split after 6 months. Yufe grew up as a Jew, even serving a stint in the Israeli navy. Brother Oskar Stohr, meanwhile, went to Germany with his Catholic mom and grew up as a Nazi, becoming a member of the Hitler Youth. They managed to stay in touch and met again at age 21. The weird part? Despite their incredibly different backgrounds, they were alike in nearly every way.

They dressed the same (both showed up to their first meeting in a white sports jacket and wire-rimmed glasses), walked the same, wore the same mustache, and had the same temperament and quirks. They both liked to sneeze loudly to scare people as a joke, and "both used to wash their hands before and after going to the toilet," says Nancy Segal, a professor of psychology who studied the pair as part of a well-known study of separated twins at the University of Minnesota. The brothers' story eventually rose to "the center of discussions about nature and nurture," notes the Washington Post. Though the brothers didn't much like each other at first, that changed over the years. When Stohr died of cancer in 1997, a devastated Yufe didn't attend the funeral, however, notes AP. They looked so much alike he was afraid it would upset loved ones. (A survivor of the Nazi death camps' only mass escape also recently died.)

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