IN OUR HEARTS WE WERE GIANTS: The Remarkable Story of the Lilliput Troupe—A Dwarf Family's Survival of the Holocaust

Yehuda Koren, Author, Eilat Negev, Author . Carroll & Graf $25 (305p) ISBN 978-0-7867-1365-3

When the last of his 10 children was born in 1921, Shimshon Eizik Ovitz had the distinction of having fathered the largest dwarf family in the world. Twenty-four years later, his seven dwarf children, two of their normal-sized siblings and a handful of their spouses and cousins set a more tragic record as one of only two extended families to survive Auschwitz intact. The same physical characteristics that frequently rendered them helpless made them endlessly appealing to the notorious Dr. Josef Mengele, who tormented them in the name of genetic research. The Ovitz family history is fascinating, as is the dwarf lore that Israeli journalists Koren and Negev have unearthed, but the real drama—aside from the horror of the Holocaust—is in the relationships the Ovitzes formed with Mengele as well as with one another, their spouses, extended family and with the Slomowitzes, fellow townspeople who pretended to be relatives so that they, too, would be spared. Much of the family history comes from the last surviving Ovitz daughter, Perla, who died in 2001, and her nephew, Shimshon, who was a toddler in Auschwitz. Perla is a compelling blend of pride and misery, her nephew a sorrowful adult whose difficult childhood was followed by a troubled adolescence. Their stories, and those of their family, are unique and unforgettable. 16 pages of photos not seen by PW . Agent, Erika Stegmann. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/17/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-7867-1555-8
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-7867-3856-4
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