Cover image for In our hearts we were giants : the remarkable story of the Lilliput Troupe : a dwarf family's survival of the Holocaust
In our hearts we were giants : the remarkable story of the Lilliput Troupe : a dwarf family's survival of the Holocaust
Koren, Yehuda.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Im Herzen waren wir Riesen. English
First Carroll and Graf edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Carroll & Graf, [2004]

Physical Description:
xiii, 305 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 22 cm
General Note:
Translation of: Im Herzen waren wir Riesen.

Originally published in German, c2003 by Ullstein Heyne List GmbH. & Co., KG, Munich.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
R853.H8 K6713 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
R853.H8 K6713 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
R853.H8 K6713 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

On Order



A moving, powerful tale of survival under the most extreme circumstances recalls the experiences of the Ovitz family--a troupe of performing dwarves, all relatives, who were deported to Auschwitz, but managed to stay alive, despite special attention from the camp's Angel of Death, Joseph Mengele.

Author Notes

Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev are journalists for the major Israeli daily newspaper, Yedioth Achronot, and contribute to major British periodicals. In addition to their interviews with Perla Ovitz, fans, neighbors and survivors, they tracked down significant medical documentation and archival lists and unearthed original records from Auschwitz.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The Ovitz family--seven dwarfs and three normal-statured siblings--traveled through Transylvania and neighboring lands singing songs for enthusiastic audiences in the 1930s and early 1940s. Then in 1944, they were shipped with thousands of other Jews to Auschwitz, where the infamous Dr. Mengele took an interest in them. Saved from immediate murder by Mengele, they were treated far better than the average resident of Auschwitz. Although forced to suffer through painful and humiliating medical tests, they kept their own clothes and were better fed than others at the camp. They survived Mengele's experiments, eventually moving to Israel and going on a successful reunion tour before retiring to run a cinema together. Employing information culled from interviews with friends and the last surviving Ovitz sister, Koren and Negev explore with considerable depth the Ovitzes' complicated relationships with their size; one another; and their awful savior, Mengele. The sometimes melodramatic writing detracts a bit from the inherently powerful story, but this is a quirky, illuminating addition to Holocaust history. --John Green Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prologuep. xi
1 Transylvania, 1868p. 1
2 Rozavlea, 1923p. 13
3 Rozavlea, 1930p. 23
4 On the Road, 1931-1940p. 37
5 Hungary, 1940p. 47
6 Maramures, Easter 1944p. 57
7 Auschwitz-Birkenau, May 1944p. 71
8 Auschwitz-Birkenau, June 1944p. 85
9 Auschwitz-Birkenau, July 1944p. 103
10 Auschwitz-Birkenau, August 1944p. 119
11 Auschwitz-Birkenau, September 1944p. 133
12 Auschwitz-Birkenau, October 1944p. 147
13 Auschwitz-Birkenau, November 1944p. 159
14 Auschwitz-Birkenau, December 1944p. 169
15 Auschwitz-Birkenau, January 1945p. 187
16 On the Road, 1945p. 199
17 Sighet-Antwerp, 1945-1949p. 209
18 Haifa, 1949-1954p. 225
19 Haifa, 1955-1979p. 241
20 Haifa, 1980-1992p. 253
21 Haifa, 1993-2001p. 265
22 Rozavlea-Auschwitz, September 2000p. 275
Sources and Thanksp. 291
Indexp. 297