Scrapbookpages Blog

March 25, 2016

New book about the Ovitz family of dwarfs

Filed under: Germany — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:44 am

You can read a news story about this new book at http://www.ekathimerini.com/207233/article/ekathimerini/life/book-on-the-ovitz-familys-auschwitz-survival-story-now-available-in-greek

The photo below is included in the news article.

The Ovitz family

The Ovitz family included several people of normal height

The following quote is from the news article:

In May 1944, all 12 members of the Ovitz family were deported to Auschwitz. It appeared that they were destined for extermination in the gas chambers but their death was averted by the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who picked them for genetic experiments.

“I was saved by the grace of the devil,” Perla, who was 20 at the time, said in an interview with Israeli journalists Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev, who tell the story of the Ovitz family in their book “Giants: The Dwarfs of Auschwitz.” The book was recently published in Greek by Pigi.

The Ovitz family came from the village of Rozavlea, in northern Romania. The father, Rabbi Shimshon Eizik Ovitz, a dwarf, married twice and had 10 children. Seven were dwarfs. “The seven kids had a talent for music and went on to set up their own ensemble in the 1930s,” Negev said in an interview with Kathimerini. The so-called Lilliput Troupe performed all over Romania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia until all of its members were arrested and sent to Auschwitz in 1944.

Their life at the [Auschwitz-Birkenau] concentration camp was a mix of “normality and hell,” Negev said. [Dr.] Mengele went to great lengths to keep them alive so that he could conduct his notorious experiments. The seven Ovitzes and their relatives – including several fellow villagers who pretended to be relatives so that they too would be spared the gas chambers – were given their own room and their own clothes; they enjoyed better meals; they were under a sick form of protection. “[Dr.]  Mengele would pull out healthy teeth, pluck hairs and extract bone marrow. He subjected them to painful experiments on a daily basis in order to uncover the secrets of genetics,” Negev said.

End quote

I wrote the following about Dr. Mengele’s experiments at Auschwitz on my scrapbookpages.com website.

Photo of an inmate at Auschwitz

Famous photo of an inmate at Auschwitz

Twins or family members who had the same congenital defect, such as a hunch back or a club foot, were pulled out of the line to be used as subjects for Dr. Josef Mengele’s medical research on genetic conditions and hereditary diseases. From one of the Hungarian transports in 1944, the Ovitz family, consisting of seven dwarves, two children, and their normal-height sisters, were saved because Dr. Mengele wanted to study them.

In all, 23 Jews from the town of Rozavlea in Transylvania survived; another family from the town was saved after they claimed that they were related to the Ovitz family.