Monday, December 14, 2015

Documentary Review: The Seven Dwarfs of Auschwitz

This documentary is presented by Smithsonian Channel and is narrated by Warwick Davis.  Davis talks about his desire to find out more of the Ovitz family, and the seven dwarf entertainers from the family.  It mentions that the
Ovitz family is about the only family to survive in tack from Auschwitz.  However I wasn't sure if this meant just the dwarfs or the entire family.  Their father was a dwarf, but their two mothers were not dwarfs, and there were a three non dwarf siblings.  They were from Eastern Europe, Rosavlea, Romania in the Transylvania area.  They became entertainers, because this was an industry that would accept little people.   Many dwarfs became part of freak shows; however the Ovitz family were regular profession entertainers.  They played musical instruments.  They were also accomplished actors.  They stood out from other acts of the time, and when they went on tour many came to see them.  They performed in Hungary, Romania and Czechoslovakia.  They became an act of short people, rather than short performers.
However the Ovitz family was caught in the Nazi obsession with anyone who was different.  Not only were the Jewish, but also dwarfs.  When they arrived at Auschwitz, they would have been marked for death, but Dr. Josef Mengele, the "Doctor of Death" took an interest in them, and chose them for experimentation.  They were subject to many strange experiments.  They were subject to strange experimentation and torture, which preserved themselves for some months.  However 100 dwarfs were killed at Auschwitz.  Their ability to entertain would preserve them beyond this, as the Nazis also had a fascination with fine entertainment.  5000 people were being killed and burn daily.  They were released when Auschwitz was liberated in January 1945, which was eight months after they had arrived.  Mengele fled with most of the other officers of Auschwitz.  They survived but carried the nightmare with them.  They returned to entertaining after the war.

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