Monday, December 17, 2018

Giants: The Dwarfs of Auschwitz : the Extraordinary Story of the Lilliput Troupe by Eilat Negev and Yehuda Koren

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The authors tell the story of the of the Ovitz family in a clear, well-researched, easy to read style. They provide an amazing amount of detail into the life of the family gleaned from public records, former neighbours, other Holocaust survivors, and Perla who is the youngest Ovitz daughter. The close-knit family, made up of seven siblings who are dwarves and three siblings who are not, formed an very successful troupe of entertainers who travelled throughout Central Europe.

Although they were able to avoid many round-ups of Jews, they finally ended in a cattle car headed for Auschwitz in 1944.  Saved by Dr. Mengele's predilection for human anomolies, the family avoided the gas chambers.  Mengele knew his new test subjects were very fragile and was careful to keep them alive for his enjoyment and for study.  

While it is impossible to say that I enjoyed the book because of its time and place, it was definitely worth reading.  The authors could have turned the family into heroes but instead kept the story real, sharing the family's strengths and well as some of their less favourable behaviours.

An excellent story of an extraodinary family . . . definitely worth reading.

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