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Titanic Orphans: 1912

Titanic Orphans: 1912

New York. April 22, 1912. "Titanic survivors." Brothers Michel ("Lolo") and Edmond Navratil, ages 4 and 2, whose father perished when the RMS Titanic sank 100 years ago today, and were known as the "Titanic orphans" until their mother was located in France. Our second look at these Titanic tots. Lolo, the last male survivor of the Titanic, died in 2001. Bain News Service photo. View full size.


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From the Fortean Times this month

And from an article on a series of strange premonitions and dreams surrounding the Titanic as reported in the Fortean Times this month,

Fortean Times FT287 p 35.

"She( the mother) had no idea that he had left the country with them and was planning a new life… On the night of the sinking, Michael appeared to her in a dream, handing her a black bordered envelope. During the next few weeks, Marcelle, reading accounts of two orphan children saved from the disaster, repeatedly dreamed of the missing infants and of funerals. It was not until 22 April that she recognized similarities between the children in the newspaper stories and her own boys, and began to suspect the babies might be hers. Despite her dreams, the idea seemed incredible - but she was finally reunited with the children on 16 May."

You can read their story

The March 2012 issue of Smithsonian Magazine has several features about the Titanic including the lives of these little boys. Briefly, their father (estranged from their mother) under an assumed name was taking them home to the U.S. against the wishes of their mother, who was not on board. Survivors remember him crouching with his sons, making sure they were dressed warmly as they waited for the last life boat. With his sons safely on the lifeboat, he saluted them and stepped back into the crowd, not surviving the sinking. There were many stories from that night far more heart wrenching than that of the fictitious lovers portrayed in James Cameron's film. Btw the book, "A Night To Remember", by my fellow Baltimorean Walter Lord, was made into the 1958 film of the same name and is considered by many to be superior to the Cameron film. Its special effects, of course, were accomplished with no computer magic.

My rather faint Six Degrees of Separation from the Titanic: One person who cancelled his and his wife's passage on the Titanic was Milton Hershey, whose chocolate company in Pennsylvania was already quite successful. Several generations after that I was on the company's corporate staff for 10 years, a rewarding experience I very likely would not have enjoyed if old Miltie had not made it back to town. Great job plus one unique perk: Every coffee station had a big plastic container that was kept stocked with various kinds of chocolate products.

Michel & Edouard, the later years

Edouard Navratil worked first as an interior designer then as an architect and builder. He joined the French Army at the beginning of World War II, but was taken as a prisoner of war. He eventually escaped but he was in poor health for the rest of his life. He died in 1953 at age 43.

Michel Navratil Jr. attended university and eventually earned a doctorate in philosophy. He married in 1933 and had at least one child, Elizabeth an opera director who wrote a fictional account of her father and uncle's story for children called (in English) "Survivors".

The boy's father Michel Navratil was traveling under the name Louis Hoffman, so it was assumed that he was Jewish. As a result he was interred at the Baron de Hirsch cemetery in Halifax, the facility designated for the bodies of Jewish victims. In 1996, following a cruise to the site of the Titanic wreck Navratil visited his father's grave for the first - and as it turned out the only - time. Michel Navratil Jr. died at his home of Montpelier Franc at age 92 in 2001. He was the last male survivor of the wreck.

Their Faces

One hundred years later a photo of their faces melt my heart. I hope life was kind to them from that point on.

+1 on the Cabbage Patch Kid

I suppose we're all terrible people, given the circumstances, but good grief. There is no way not to think "Cabbage Patch."

Cabbage Patch Kids

Okay, now I see where the inspiration came for the dolls. The child on the right is just the perfect Cabbage Patch model - round face and round eyes.

What a doll!

Poor little guys. I'm glad their mother was located and that they were not orphaned, though deprived of their father.

The cutie on the right looks just like a Cabbage Patch doll!

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