he story of the seven fiddler dwarfs from the Maramures village of Rozalvea, who survived the Auschwitz camp, continues to fascinate decades after the heinous experiments they were subjected to by the well-known Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. The band “Liliput”, composed of seven brothers, all dwarfs, began to become known in the 1930s. The “Ovicers”, as their neighbors called the members of the Ovitz Jewish family, became famous throughout Europe with their variety shows, even singing for King Charles II.
After the occupation of Transylvania by the German forces, the members of the “Liliput” band knew what to expect, given their Jewish descent, so they hid all their belongings in a pit which they dug under their car.
Upon reaching Auschwitz
The Ovitz brothers, five girls, and two boys, were taken to Auschwitz along with several hundred other Hungarians. As they entered the camp gate, all elegantly dressed, an officer demanded that Dr. Mengele be awakened urgently.
Dr. Josef Mengele was known for his passion for strange people, from hermaphrodites to giants, so the incorporation of seven dwarfs into the Auschwitz extermination camp could only be a source of joy for him. Hearing of the arrival of the seven members of the “Liliput” band, Mengele jumped out of bed and wanted to see them immediately.
While waiting for the doctor, Perla Ovitz, who was 23 at the time, remembers seeing people, including her relatives, taken to a two-chimney building from which smoke constantly came out. The pearl, naive, thought it was a bakery, but was soon awakened to reality by a prisoner of the camp: “There is no bakery. This is Auschwitz, and you will soon be in those ovens. ”
But Mengele’s passion for strange people saved them from death, but the seven dwarfs from Rozalvea had a perhaps cruel fate.
Meeting with the diabolical Dr. Mengele
“I have been working for 20 years now!” Exclaimed Mengele when he saw the seven dwarfs. The doctor, who had gassed five hundred women a few months ago to escape a typhus epidemic, was simply charmed by the Ovitz family.
In just three hours since they arrived at the extermination camp, many of the Jews they had brought on the train were already dead. Both the seven members of the “Liliput” band and their relatives were spared. In total, 22 people.
The “ovicers” told the doctor at Auschwitz that their father, also a dwarf, had been twice married to tall women, who gave birth to seven dwarfs and three children of normal size.
Like the other prisoners, members of the Ovitz family were put in barracks and fed the same strained soup. In the room where they were kept, there was also an aluminum bowl in which they washed every day because Mengele was obsessed with hygiene. However, the dwarves were not shaved and were allowed to keep the clothes they had brought with them.
At first, Mengele just wanted to take their blood, but this became a weekly routine, weakening the malnourished “ovaries.”
“He was stabbing us carefully, and the blood was jumping. I was often dizzy and vomiting. We were returning to the barracks, but until we returned, we were called again “, said Perla Ovitz.
Mengele didn’t know exactly what he wanted from them either, although he took their blood weekly and did x-rays. According to the documents, the doctor was doing routine tests for kidney and liver problems, but he did not make any discoveries about dwarfism. Then he began to test them for syphilis and torture them, pouring cold and hot water into their ears. Pearl said that water torture was very painful and led them to the brink of madness. The doctors also extracted their teeth and took their genes for testing.
Strange friendship with Mengele
“We were used to the idea that we would never leave the camp,” Perla Ovitz said in an interview more than 10 years ago. But Mengele saved them once again from a painful death because they were to be gassed. The “Lilliputians” had even heard of two dwarfs who had been killed at Mengele’s behest just to show their skeletons in Berlin.
Although subjected to painful experiments, Perla said there was a strange friendship between the dwarves and the sadistic doctor Mengele. “Dr. Mengele was like a star, he looked better and better. Anyone could have fallen in love with him, “Perla recalled. “When he was nervous, he calmed down as he entered our barracks. When he was in a good mood, people said, “Most likely he visited the dwarves.”
Frieda, one of the sisters, often flirted with Mengele, and he responded to the flirtation, by calling her “Meine Liebe” (“my love”). All the Ovitz brothers treated him with respect and addressed him with “Your Excellency.
One day, Mengele announced that they were going on a trip and provided them with makeup kits, asking them to look their best, because he was going to give a show in front of important people. After squabbling, the dwarves took to the stage in front of hundreds of SS officers. Dr. Mengele was waiting for them on stage, they suddenly returned to them and shouted: “Undressing!”.
Trembling and trying to hide their private parts, the dwarves stood naked in front of the whole room. In fact, the Ovitz brothers had been brought on stage to make a strong impact on the speech given by the sadistic doctor Mengele about how the Jewish race degenerates into disabled and dwarfs. In the end, the audience stood up and applauded, and the SS officers went on stage to see the dwarves more closely.
In 1945, the “ovicers” were removed from Auschwitz and, after a few months in Moscow, returned to the country. Once in Rozavlea, the dwarves found, under the car, their jewelry and gold objects.
In 1949, the family emigrated to Israel, where they continued to perform variety shows. Perla Ovitz, the last member of the dwarf family, died on September 9, 2001, of natural causes.