‘Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor infamous for his atrocities’

The Seven Dwarfs of Auschwitz

and their amazing story of survival


From Allan Hall in Berlin

FROM the horror of Auschwitz, an astonishing story of survival has emerged after almost six decades.

It concerns a troupe of Jewish travelling musicians named Ovitz, comprising seven dwarfs and their two full-sized sisters.

They actually heard the gas chamber door clang shut on them, and smelled the poison seeping in.

But their lives were saved by Dr Josef Mengele, the Polish death camp’s evil doctor.

He acted not from compassion, but because he saw in them the chance to further his research in creating an Aryan master race.

The nine became human guinea pigs for the Nazis, enduring a succession of agonising and degrading experiments.

In the end, however they lived – the only family to emerge intact from the SS killing complex.

And today, 58 years and a day after the liberation of Auschwitz, their incredible history is revealed in a book named ‘In Our Hearts We Were Giants – the survival of a Lilliput family.’

Two Jewish authors, Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev, learned the Ovitzes’ story from interviews with the family, all of whom are now dead. The last to go, Perla, 81, told them: ‘If I ever questioned why I was born a dwarf, my answer must be that my handicap was God’s way of keeping me alive.’

She described how, chillingly, Mengele used to chant a little rhyme he made up for her family: ‘Over the hills and seven mountains, there my seven dwarfs do dwell.’

He even made a film of them which was sent to Hitler for his amusement at his mountain retreat.

The story begins in Hungary early last century, with a dwarf who earned his living as a strong-man and called himself Samson. He had a normal-sized bride called Blanca who bore him two dwarf daughters before dying at 26.

Samson remarried. His second wife, Bertha, who was also full-sized, gave birth to eight children, five of them dwarfs. He died of food poisoning at 46, leaving his wife to raise ten young children. Bertha sent them all to a music school, established a family troupe and told them always to stick together. They travelled all over Europe performing.

After war broke out in 1939, they continued travelling using documents which omitted the fact that they were Jews. They were on tour when in March 1944, Hitler invaded Hungary and were soon aboard a cattle car bound for Auschwitz.

One brother, Leon, who was not a dwarf, was apart from them at the time; he was trying to hide, using false documents. But a neighbour informed on him. He was executed and his wife and baby daughter were later gassed in Auschwitz.

An intrigued Mengele had intended to greet the dwarf family among the milling crowds at the entrance ramp to Auschwitz.

But in the chaos, they were dragged straight to the gas chamber. ‘We were standing naked, men and women; when the heavy metal door slammed behind us and we started smelling the gas pouring in, Perla recalled.

‘Suddenly, through the fog, we heard shouts. "The dwarfs! Where are the dwarfs?" ‘Vomiting from the gas, they were freed. But there was more horror to come.

Mengele wanted to decipher the secrets of human growth and they were kept isolated in a special barracks where he conducted his vile tests on them.

‘Because we had sisters who were normal-sized, this fascinated Mengele, said Perla.

After liberation the family were taken to Russia, where they had to spend another year in a refugee camp before being allowed to return home.

They then moved on to Haida in Israel and performed as a cabaret act together.

In 1955, sick through the experiments they endured, they performed for the last time. With the money they had gained they moved to a large flat and bought two cinemas and a café.

In 1980 they sold their businesses, and one by one they passed away.

In keeping with their late mother’s wishes, they had bought a family plot so they could be buried together.

The Seven Dwarfs of Auschwitz
‘The Ovitz family kept on performing after their Auschwitz ordeal. Perla, the last to die, is on the right’

‘Surrounded by barbed wire, huts at the camp where so many died’

From the Daily Mail, 28 January 2003

Note added: A small number of enquiries have been received from people seeking to locate this book. The enquirers have apparently not realized that while the newspaper article is quoted verbatim, it is presented here ironically, to illustrate typically absurd claims of the hoax. One does not smell poison gas, let alone pass through clouds of it, and live to recount the experience. This implausible yarn is fantasy, yet presented as fact in a British national newspaper, using the publication of a book in Germany as a pretext for additionally furthering the “Holocaust” myth.

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