Rosa and Josefa Blazek were pygopagus twins born in Skerchov, Bohemia (modern-day Czech Republic) on January 20, 1878. Like many conjoined twins, the sisters had radically different personalities; Rosa was talkative and witty, while Josefa was quiet and introverted. The sisters had distinctly different tastes in food and although they shared sensations, one often slept while the other was awake, and they were hungry and thirsty at different times. Rosa was the stronger of the two sisters, both physically and in terms of her personality. Their American manager, Jess E. Rose, spoke of the twins' differences: "Rosa was the guiding genius of the two. What Rosa would think...Josefa would do; when Rosa became hungry, Josefa would demand food; when Rosa willed to walk, Josefa automatically stepped forward. Rosa always planned and Josefa put the plans, without even words to convey the suggestion, into action."
In 1910, Rosa bore a son, Franzl, by vaginal delivery. She is the only female conjoined twin in history to bear a viable child. The father of the boy was allegedly denied the right to marry Rosa on moral grounds; however, Rosa started using the man's surname, Dvorak, so they may have been married later on. As he grew, Franzl joined the twins' travelling show, and he was with them in 1921 when they first came to the United States to perform. However, less than a year later, Josefa fell ill with jaundice, which quickly spread to Rosa. The twins died on March 30, 1922, in Chicago, where they wintered.
Franzl's parentage was called into question when the issue of inheritance arose, and doctors sought to determine if Rosa or Josefa was actually the child's natural mother - or if the twins were even considered two people under the law. Adding to the confusion was a Blazek brother, Frank, who had his eye on his sisters' estate, which was estimated at $100,000. According to Rose, their manager, "The fact that both women were able to nurse th child at birth proved the intimacy of their physical relationship." Dr. Benjamin Breakstone, the doctor who tended the twins during their last days at the Chicago hospital, "declared that the boy (Franzl) always knellt beside Rosa and sought words of comfort during the illness of the two. Toward Rosa only...was there any evidence of filial devotion."
Rosa's husband, Franzl's father, never stepped forward to claim the bodies of his wife and her sister; according to a 1922 press release, he died while fighting in the Austrian army. The twins are buried in the Bohemian National Cemetary in Chicago (Chicago evidently had a large Czech population at the time). It is unknown what became of Franzl or his uncle Frank, but newspapers later revealed that the sisters only had about $400 to their names.
On April 15th 1922, Krasca Funeral Home of Chicago, came and retrieved the cremains of the Twins and turned those remains over to their brother Frank. Per contributor Damian Plaza and Paula at Bohemian N Cemetery.
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