Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Titanic: Mother who got her boys back

Titanic. Port bow 3/4 profile afloat immediately after launch. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum

A beautiful photo of a mother and sons sums up the happy conclusion of a family dispute that reached an unexpected conclusion on board the Titanic.

Michel junior and Edmond Navratil were kidnapped by their estranged dad, Michel Navratil, who removed them from their French mother’s care and then boarded the Titanic with them, using Louis Hoffman as his fake ID and calling his boys by their nicknames, Lolo and Mamon, to avoid suspicion. Navratil senior was born in Szered, Slovakia in 1880.

The young boys were seen playing outside the ship’s library. After the collision, Navratil's sons made it onto a lifeboat but Navratil did not. The boys' mother later recognised them in a newspaper photo and brought them back to their home in France.

Michel, the Titanic’s last male survivor, became a philosophy professor, saying later “The people who came out alive often cheated and were aggressive, the honest didn’t stand a chance”.

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