Richard Krebs was taken aback when he saw Richard Krebs for the first time.
The Pennsylvania native—who’s son, Mike Krebs, lives in Claremont—was searching for his family lineage on a genealogy site five years ago when something strange happened. His searches took him to a tiny town in southern Germany named Bischbrunn, about five miles from where his family originated in Aschaffenburg.
There, on the city’s website, was a picture of another man named Richard Krebs, who had been the mayor of Bischbrunn for 30 years. As Mr. Krebs looked further, he noticed remarkable physical similarities between himself and his Bavarian counterpart.
Mr. Krebs, 69, was stunned. “I was looking at a picture of myself in Lederhosen,” he said.
Mr. Krebs had found his doppelganger.
The similarities didn’t just end with the name. Both had ancestors who lived within close proximity in Bavaria dating back to the 1600s, both were born within a month of each other and childhood pictures of the two were virtually indistinguishable.
“My wife says we have similar signatures,” Mr. Krebs added.
Mr. Krebs reached out to Herr Krebs following the discovery. Speaking through an interpreter, Herr Krebs said that discovering his doppelganger was, “a very surprising and wonderful experience.”
The two became fast friends, and Herr Krebs invited Mr. Krebs to Bischbrunn. The two received a warm reception in the tiny town of about 2,000 people, which is situated within beautiful green rolling hills and is known for its farmland.
“We were in the news every day,” Mr. Krebs said.
The town even held a “Richard Krebs Day,” a massive celebration with over 700 people in attendance who came to celebrate the two Richards’ remarkable similarities. They arrived to the party in a horse-drawn carriage, Mr. Krebs noted.
The friendship continued last week, when Herr Krebs was invited to come to America and tour Claremont for the first time. The day the COURIER caught up with them was a busy one—the two families were about to embark on a tour of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden and had a meeting with Councilmember Corey Calaycay later in the evening.
When asked about how he likes Claremont, Herr Krebs responded with a common observation. “It’s very warm,” he said.
The two remain in close contact, emailing at least once a week. Mr. Krebs, who has had no brothers of his own, considers his German doppelganger as a part of the family, a transatlantic kinship brought about by a curious coincidence.
“We decided to become brothers, because to hell with it,” Mr. Krebs said.