Thursday, 4 April 2013

Seven Dwarves in Auschwitz

"In our hearts, we were giants"  Seven members of the Ovitz family were dwarves who defied the odds. Because they were talented entertainers, they turned their stature into an advantage. Born in a rural area in Transylvania, they found fame and relative fortune travelling around Eastern Europe in the 1930's, as The "Liliput Troupe".  But being Jewish, they were rounded up and sent to Auschwitz. Had they been standard sized, they would have perished. Ironically, they were saved because they were dwarves. Josef Mengele collected human curiosities, inflicting insane "medical" studies upon them.
Society treats those who are different with a curious mix of titillation and humiliation.  The Ovitz family made a good living as musicians. Perhaps audiences stayed because the family was good at what they did, but chances are, the initial draw was that they were dwarves. Disadvantaged people were exploited in freak shows., but for some it was a way of making a living. Whatever motivated Mengele, we shall never know, or want to know, but he was intrigued enough to keep them alive.

Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev have written a book about the Orvitz family, "In Our Hearts we were giants : the remarkable story of the Liliput Troupe"

Read about the book HERE and watch the documentary (presented by Warwick Davis) here.  Perla Ovitz, the youngest and last survivor tells the camera why she wears so much lipstick in her old age. "So people can see the smile, but not the tears". A philosophy we can all learn from.

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