These Two Boys Were Titanic Survivors... And Their Story Captivated the World
April 15, 1912 was a tragic day. The RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg and more than 1,500 perished in the tragedy. Of the 710 survivors there were two young boys, aged 2 and 4, rescued without their parent or guardian.
The photo below says it all, “Louis & Lola?” There was almost no information as the passenger list was a mess. And the two boys only answered "oui" to every question asked.
The media called the boys the ‘Titanic Twins’ and their story was all over the news. Their identity would remain unknown until a woman in Nice, France came across a news article with a picture of what looked like her two sons.
The woman was Marcelle Caretto, and after getting in touch with local authorities, she described the two boys in detail, submitting questions only her two boys could answer.
After their relationship was confirmed, the mother was reunited with her sons, Michel and younger brother Edmond, in the U.S.
So how did the two boys end up on the Titanic? The answer was their estranged (and now deceased) father, Michel Navratil.
According to NPR, the father had "kidnapped" the two children from his estranged wife, Marcelle. His plan was to bring the boys to the U.S. and start anew.
He went onboard the Titanic under the name Louis B. Hoffman, and gave his children aliases too, “Lolo and Momon”. He was recorded as the only Titanic victim found carrying a loaded revolver in his pocket.
When the boys arrived in New York City they temporary lived with Margaret Hays, another Titanic survivor. After a month, they were reunited with their mother after her long journey across the Atlantic.
Edmond died at age 43 after fighting in the French Army during World War 2. Michel would go on to attend college, earn a doctorate and become a professor of Philosophy.
He died on January 20, 2001 at the age of 92, the oldest and last remaining male survivor of the RMS Titanic.
H/T NPR, The Library of Congress, The Chronicle Herald, Wikipedia, Biography