Wednesday, April 10, 2013

In Our Hearts We Were Giants by Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev

A Dwarf Family’s Survival of the Holocaust (Holocaust Week)

In Our Hearts We Were Giants by Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev is an incredible story of a family of little people and their survival through the Holocaust.  Shimshon Eizik Ovitz was a little person born to normal height parents.  His first marriage to a regular sized woman produced two surviving daughters, both of whom where little.  After his wife died, Shimshon remarried another normal sized woman and produced eight more children, five of whom were also little people.  The mother, who had raised all kids, including the two daughters from the first marriage, warned them to always stay together. Their strength was in supporting each other. They heeded her advice and formed the Lilliput Troupe.  Every child, with the exception of one tall son, worked together in the Troupe.  Born and raised in Transylvania, which was annexed by Romania, they traveled throughout Europe performing their song, dance, and acting performances.  Life was good until the unthinkable happened.  In 1944 they were all sent to Auschwitz–Birkenau, the notorious concentration camp. Their great handicap in life soon proved to be their salvation.  Because Josef Mengele had an interest in twins and dwarfs, he spared their lives in order to experiment and study them.  This is a gripping book.  Reading about Auschwitz is nothing less than stomach churning; the ordeal of their survival and the masses who weren't spared is unimaginable.  The extraordinary tragedy and triumph of this family will be etched in my heart forever. It amazes me that throughout life the Ovitzes’ found faith, hope, endurance, as well as the ability to smile in the face of horror. 

“The heart is crying, but the lips are smiling…”
Yehuda Koren and Eliat Negev (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2004), 270.


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  1. This sounds like an amazing book! A must read! Thank you, it's at the top of my list.

  2. I really would want to read this book. I hope I can handle it