On this day 74 years ago, the concentration camp known as Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet Army. It is estimated that of the 1.3 million prisoners who were sent to Auschwitz, 1.1 million were murdered there. By some miracle, over 7,000 prisoners were found alive at the time of the liberation and were saved. A few of those survivors come from the Ovitz family.
The infamous Dr. Josef Mengele found this family particularly interesting because of the 12 Ovitz family members, 7 of them had dwarfism. The reason for the Nazi officers to send the Ovitz family to the camp was twofold, they were of the Jewish Faith, and their physical disabilities made them unfit for life according to the Nazi’s.
Over their time in the camp, the family was subject to torturous experiments performed by Mengele. He did not want to kill this family like he killed so many people before, he kept them alive so that he could continue to perform very dangerous and painful experiments on them. These experiments consisted of things like pouring boiling water into their ears, extracting fluid from the spine, and injecting various fluids into the woman’s uterus’. Mengele brought the family out on stage in front of many SS officers naked, to exploit and humiliate them throughout the experimental process.
Miraculously, they all made it out of Dr. Mengele’s lab and out of Auschwitz healthy enough to begin their lives once again. After their liberation, the family performed as a musical group and toured around Europe. They are known commonly today as “the seven dwarves of Auschwitz” when they should be known as Rozika, Franzkia, Avram, Fredia, Micki, Elizabeth, and Perla Ovitz.
Today 74 years later, I am writing their names and telling their story so that they will not be forgotten. 74 years ago today was their day of freedom.