THE OVITZ FAMILY – Nazi Experiments

OVITZ FAMILY auschwitz-dwarfs

Of all the trials and tribulations endured by those born unique, few equal the horrors chronicled by Elizabeth Ovitz as she and her siblings were tortured and experimented upon by the infamous Nazi “Angel of Death” Josef Mengele.

The Ovitz family were Transylvanian Jews. Their patriarch, Shimshon Isaac Ovitz, was a respected Rabbi and dwarf. The majority of his children, Elizabeth included, inherited his pseudoachondroplasia dwarfism and upon his sudden death his widow reasoned that the seven stunted Ovitz siblings could secure a financially sound career as a traveling music troupe. In relatively short order, the siblings formed the ‘Jazz Band of Lilliput’ and began touring Central Europe.

By 1942, despite the unstable status of Central Europe of the march of the Nazi army, the Ovitz family managed to continue touring by concealing their Jewish identities. Elizabeth was able to marry in May of that same year to a young theatre manager named Yoshko Moskovitz. The couple was forced to split just ten days after their marriage when Yoshko was drafted into a labour battalion. For another two years, the Ovitz family continued to tour, unfortunately they were in Hungary in March of 1944 when German troops occupied the country.On May 17 the Ovitz family was captured, loaded into a boxcar and sent off to Auschwitz.

Elizabeth recalled the first time she set eyes on Dr. Mengele as he stood on the platform dividing the new arrivals into those to be executed immediately and those who were to suffer the camp incarceration. Mengele was a deceptively handsome man and his eyes lit up when he saw the tiny Ovitz family. Mengele had previously tortured, experimented upon and dissected dozens of twin siblings for no reason other than to document the similarities of their internal organs and in the Ovitz family Mengele saw the ultimate test subjects. In fact, Elizabeth quoted Mengele as enthusiastically declaring:‘Now I will have work for the next twenty years; now science will have an interesting subject to consider.’

At Auschwitz Elizabeth and her family were segregated and subjected to all manner of frenetic experimentation. As Elizabeth would write:

‘The most frightful experiments of all were the gynaecological experiments. They tied us to the table and the systematic torture began. They injected things into our uterus, extracted blood, dug into us, pierced us and removed samples.It is impossible to put into words the intolerable pain that we suffered, which continued for many days after the experiments ceased.’

The gynaecological experimentation was so severe that even the doctors assisting the procedures eventually refused to continue out of pity, whilst citing the very real possibility that the family would not be able to survive further invasive procedure. Mengele relented as he did not want to risk the lives of his favourite lab rats. Instead, he concocted and implemented new sadistic experiments.

‘They extracted fluid from our spinal. The hair extraction began again and when we were ready to collapse, they began painful tests on the brain, nose, mouth, and hand region. All stages were fully documented with illustrations. It may be noted, ironically, that we were among the only ones in the world whose torture was premeditated and ‘scientifically’ documented for the sake of future generations.”

In addition, Mengele’s physicians also painfully extracted bone marrow and pulled out teeth to find signs of hereditary disease and blinded members of the family with chemical drops.

Not content to keep his prized subject hidden within the confines of his laboratory, Mengele displayed the Ovitz family, striped nude, to groups of senior Nazis while lecturing on their inferior genetics. He also created a film for Adolf Hitler’s amusement staring the Ovitz family. The Ovitz family sang German songs when ordered to do so out of terror. Shortly before the request they had witnessed two newcomer dwarfs being killed and boiled so their bones could be exhibited in a Nazi museum.

All told, the Ovitz family endured seven month under the torturous hand of Mengele.

Auschwitz was liberated on January 27, 1945. Elizabeth and her family were rescued by Soviet troops from what was likely certain death. Just two days previous to the liberation, Mengele approached Elizabeth with a collection of glass eyes and attempted to match her shade.

During the following four years the family toured the wreckage of Eastern and Central Europe. They choreographed and performed a new routine in remembrance of their experience. Each night Elizabeth, partnered by one of her brothers, would dance the part of Life to his Death in what they called the Totentanz.

In 1949 the family emigrated to Israel and Elizabeth died in Haifa in 1992.

Josef Mengele was never captured or tried for his crimes. He died on a beach in Brazil in 1979.

To learn more about the Ovitz family, purchase In Our Hearts We Were Giants now.

78 Comments

  • Reply November 13, 2008

    Robot Karnov

    This story gave me chills. Superbly written!

  • Reply November 13, 2008

    Tracey

    I have written a book of semi-nonfiction centered around Josef Mengele and his sick experiments. It’s semi-nonfiction the same way Titanic was. In that movie, the love story was fictional, but the event was real and accurately included certain passengers that did go down with the real Titanic. I did a lot of research, but did not come across this story. I will probably add this to it. Thank you :)

  • Reply November 14, 2008

    Aurafox

    Wow, it’s amazing how seperated from reality some people can be.

  • Reply November 15, 2008

    Tian Sandoval

    Es asombroso que sobrevivieran…

  • Reply November 19, 2008

    Personne

    It’s most likely true, in all probability; given Mengele’s documented fascination for all “abnormal” (as in out-of-the-ordinary) human conditions, it fits perfectly the pattern. At least some survived… The beast is never very far under the thin civilization veneer.

  • Reply November 24, 2008

    Lady Lavona

    I’m in tears…this is horrific. My younger sister Briana is a dwarf, she is a giant at heart! Just trying to live a “normal” life is so challenging for little people…but having to endure being tortured by some madman, it’s almost unbelievable!

  • Reply November 29, 2008

    RYErnest

    Nice post u have here :D Added to my RSS reader

  • Reply December 15, 2008

    Tracey

    I just read their book “In Our Hearts We Were Giants”. It was amazing, extremely interesting, and of course sad and twisted in regards to Mengele’s treatment of the talented family.

  • Reply December 16, 2008

    Eric McRoth

    Dr Mengele and the seven dwarfs…
    Yeah! Nice tale!

  • Reply December 24, 2008

    Anton

    Прикольная статья)))))From Russia!!!!

  • Reply January 4, 2009

    PRO

    Well they are doing same experiments 2day just we are not informed…. if you only knew how many ppl form india were transported to USA for different testing you would agree that Mengele is still very alive!

  • Reply January 6, 2009

    SM

    Well, I hope in his death he got what he deserved. To do those horrible things to adults is horrible enough, but what makes it even more heartwrenching is that he performed those expreiments on innocent little children. I’m sorry but he was never human, because noone that has a heart could hurt a child let alone an adult.He was a SICK man and anyone who thinks otherwise is just as horrible as him.

    • Reply May 11, 2015

      Wyrdwitch

      This evil creature Mengele was pure reptile….

  • Reply January 15, 2009

    Jess

    PRO, I have never heard about what you just said. I hope it’s just a myth, but at the same time it doesn’t surprise me that much. Do you have any links where I could find out more information on that?

  • Reply February 6, 2009

    Lian

    OMG!! i was doing a research paper about Dr. Mengele, and i stumbled to the Ovitz Family. I searched it and this was what i found. I can’t believe how horrible and sick this man was!! He’s probably the devil! If i was a doctor, i wouldn’t go to such legths just for the sake of scince!

  • Reply March 3, 2009

    John

    I… Can’t bring myself to hate any man of science. I realize that this is horribly wrong, but the moment someone says “it’s for the sake of science” my eyes light up and I cannot bear any ill will toward them.

    Mengele was an intensely interested man, and a very interesting man at that.

    • Reply March 14, 2015

      Patrick

      I respect that you may be a man/woman of science, but have a heart. These people had ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING removed from them, spinal fluid, blood, bone marrow, hair, DNA…and not to mention the horrible experiments! I’m not calling you a bad person, but please, don’t say that what Mengele did was acceptable.

  • Reply March 24, 2009

    Sammy

    I’m sorry, but there are limits when the interests of science are sacrificed in favour of human rights! There is no justification on earth that could make his actions reasonable, speaking as an identical twin Jew myself, I have nothing but hate and disgust for this man and anyone who believes he is anything other than the devil himself.

  • Reply April 7, 2009

    Ummm

    John, I hope you are trolling this website and don’t really mean that… and if you do then in the name of science go f*** yourself.

  • Reply May 30, 2009

    alfre

    i am almost about to cry, this was terribly!

  • Reply May 31, 2009

    keyshock

    John, you strike me as a man of science yourself. To tell you the truth, you should be even more horrified that science, which you probably know and love, is being used to justify such atrocities.

    Science has its ethics too…and Mengele certainly did not adhere to it.

  • Reply June 8, 2009

    Beck

    For those who believe Mengele didn’t get what he deserved…
    Some within the intelligence community believe that Mengele was assassinated by Mossad agents. He wasn’t “punished” for his crimes, but he also wasn’t allowed to die in a “happily ever after” fashion.
    There is no hard evidence to support this theory, but it would be in keeping with Mossad’s methods of dealing with something like this.

  • Reply June 11, 2009

    Yvette

    I am so saddened by all this – it just breaks my heart.

  • Reply June 15, 2009

    Bianca

    Yeah, he was insane but we owe alot of what we know today about freezing bodies and preserving them to him. Despite his controversial and tortorous methods, he contributed much to science. Without his actions, we might not be where we are today.

  • […] Take, for instance, the members of the Ovitz Family. […]

  • Reply June 21, 2009

    Emma

    Looking back to certain previous posts, I can only say that I acknowledge the importance of science to the modern progression of knowledge, but nothing can excuse the torture of subjugated and innocent people. If you want scientific information, you obtain it from a willing subject, humanely and without bias, otherwise the scientist is just playing God, and a ruthless one at that.

  • Reply July 3, 2009

    Chris

    What a beautiful family.

    The should have taken Dr. Mengele and performed experiments on him for the rest of his life. What a monster.

  • Reply July 7, 2009

    Mayla

    yep they were from clujna poca, romania
    i’ve heard many times about them

  • Reply July 15, 2009

    Kelli

    PRO is very much telling the truth. It’s true. Anyone who believes that our country has nothing to do with the pains of the world is blind. It’s just like the Nazi’s. Some German’s still believe that it never happened, though there are miles of evidence proving them wrong. This world is sick and no one will ever be convicted.

  • Reply July 19, 2009

    Private

    That poor family, that B******, didn’t deserve to die on the beach, he deserved to have his limbs cut off one by one. In the name of scienice!

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  • […] ways to show you care.  Obama’s potential to institute an Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel directed  Mengle Molar Extraction Program or an innovative No Need for Thirty-two to Chew initiative  holds forth hope to […]

  • Reply October 1, 2009

    Cat

    Bianca, you clearly know very little about medicine or science, without experients done to find out information about hypothermia we wouldn’t be where we are today? Are you for real? They found out little information, information that isn’t hugely important (how many people die of hypothermia in relation to how many people die)?

    Science goes in leaps and bounds and always has, and it isn’t usually done when torturing people. Science and medicine progress just fine without torture.

    Think before you speak.

    And John I hope you are trolling – science has ethics, and if hearing science makes your eyes light up you must not be very bright.

  • Reply October 2, 2009

    Jack

    its events like these that reinforce my belief that there is no God, and yet at the same time, make me wish there were so that these actions would never go unjustified..

    hopefully Karma at least had SOME kind of fun with him before his death, but we’ll never know.

  • Reply October 2, 2009

    Jack

    i also find it overwhelmingly irritating that people partaking shit like this (then and today, here and there) walk free in the streets, while countless medical marijuana patients, who have done nothing illegal, sit in county jail for 2 or 3 weeks for possession of less than a gram of weed.

    the world and mankind are absolutely pitiful.

  • Reply October 27, 2009

    Izan

    Wow! I have never seen such atrocity! The lengths a person will go to be so ignorant and selfish, yet trying to be part of a group is sickening. All of you that are reading this know what I mean! SICK SICK SICK. Oh, wait no you don’t because I am talking about you and you are brainless, spineless, waste of natural resources and I hope a new scientist come along and does experiments on sheep like you.

    Wake up from your coma, damn zombies.

  • Reply December 2, 2009

    Lizzy Stardust

    I’m sorry, but anyone who says that Dr. Mengele should not have been repremanded, to say the least, or at the most, recognized as the deranged psychopath that he undoubtedly was is just as nuts as he was! It has been proven since that there was absolutely no method to Mengele’s madness. His experiments and research proved nothing, did nothing, and were a benefit to no one. This was said by many of the SS Doctors who worked beside him at Auschwitz. He planned nothing, kept barely any record of what he was doing…he was simply butchering and torturing people for his own sick enjoyment.

  • Reply December 10, 2009

    BG

    Oh this guy is sic. I was interested so i googled himm . uh i would put i gun to his head, exapet that would make me just as bad as him. He wasnt good enough to die of a stroke he should of had his insides puled out like he did to all of those people.

  • Reply December 18, 2009

    VA

    This is so sad.. Really is..

    Guess what, it still happens today and we do nothing.

  • Reply December 29, 2009

    Holly

    Wow this is amazing! Im sure I read or heard of this family somewhere and they got treated better than all other ‘inmates’ of the concentration camp, as he thought of them as his ‘pets’. I didnt think it was true and the story above paints a terrifyingly more accurate picture of what actually happened. Just cant begin to imagine what these people have gone through.

  • Reply January 9, 2010

    X

    Yes it was a true horror and in my country we finally found out what really happened with children from “Lidice” and “Ležáky” – it was sure that all adult men were killed and women too but everyone thought that 81 children ended in german famililie but it was a big mistake – nazists killed nearlly all of then in gas cars – only 6 or 7 remined alive to be a fake proof that all the children were not klilled.

  • Reply January 22, 2010

    Mrs Floweryapron

    Excellent article Mr P.
    One of the adverts on the right was for human growth hormone- at LOW prices- when I visited, that says something about society don’t it?
    x

  • Reply May 7, 2010

    zzd

    I sleep peacefully at night knowing all those sadists are burning in hell for what they’ve done and don’t regret saying it.

  • Reply May 9, 2010

    Kaylee

    This guy is one sick twisted guy…i’m doing a research report on experiments the jews endured during the holocaust.And he did so much evil to those people…..I wish he would have died a horrible totured DEATH!!! He did NOTHING to contribute to science. We went to the Holocaust musemum in washington D.C. and It was a horrific sight I could never see that again!!!!

  • Reply May 18, 2010

    Steven

    Try going to the Auschwitz German concentration camp in Poland. There were pictures, displays, and things there that I am positive would put the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C. to shame. I would say that one of the worst is the massive display of baby shoes and of glasses taken from the Jews.

    ‘Tis a shame, to say the least.

  • Reply June 17, 2010

    Tom

    There are time when words fail and only actions will suffice. It is a pity Mengele was not captured, for this and many other crimes, he should have been terminated.

    The end, however; will pay for all. Open wide the gates of Hades Sheol, when passes Mengele, more demonic than human. May they close firmly behind him forever.

  • Reply June 18, 2010

    Pete

    Mengele and his ilk were, among other things, sexual psychopaths with a Nazi government mandate to indulge their sickest fantasies. If you believe in hell, you have to believe there is a special torment for Mengele.

  • Reply July 12, 2010

    TS

    That sick bastard Mengele.. I hope he rots in hell.. God bless this little people family, im soooo sorry they were put through this..

  • Reply July 12, 2010

    TS

    and pro is a a loser and one notch below mengele.. i bet he/she wouldve been his asst during WWII

  • Reply July 18, 2010

    Caro

    I agree with you TS. PRO may be right in that it may occur in some countries of the world but there are numerous bits of legislation that are enforced worldwide that prohibit any sort of testing on humans that isnt consentual, and also testing that can cause bodily harm to people. similar legislation is in place for animals.
    if the sort of testing that PRO talks about is done it would only be known by the people in the company doing it because if anyone else knew there would be serious repecussions for EVERYONE in the company

  • Reply September 29, 2010

    fredi ovits

    Hello everyone, my name is Fredi Ovitz and Leah’s grandson and son of Samson all who read the book.
    I wanted you to know the couple who wrote the book just copied it and expanded the already writing a book written by Elizabeth Moskowitz, one of dwarfism, called “By The Grace Of The Devile”. .
    My father, sued the couple and they lost the case and simply ignore the suit and the ruling.
    I thank if Amazon publisher company give us information what amount of books sold to date for further prosecution.

    Happy reading to you all

  • Reply October 15, 2010

    CaLohv

    As a person of short stature, an identical twin sister, and a second generation Canadian, whose ancestry is from Russia and Germany; this is not a story but of factuality. It is the reason I live with my human rights today. For this family, and all people born since and before who where born an individual, packaged in a form that attracts sight. The devilish ways of humanity can make it easy to sin when people have hate in their hearts, peace is the life after, soul is stronger than mindset we learn by making mistakes.
    I have been able to pray since birth ,by the faith of my ancestors, and short stature brothers and sisters.

    When we begin to enable, we will cure our disabled.

  • […] troupe. Nazi Doctor Mengele abused this family in the name of experimental science. According to The Human Marvels: Not content to keep his prized subject hidden within the confines of his laboratory, Mengele […]

  • Reply November 5, 2010

    Kássia

    Incrível, mas muito assustador!
    e o cara veio morrer aqui no Brasil? Fala sério!

  • Reply March 10, 2011

    REVGREEN

    JOHN on March 3rd, 2009 at 4:57 pm
    I… Can’t bring myself to hate any man of science. I realize that this is horribly wrong, but the moment someone says “it’s for the sake of science” my eyes light up and I cannot bear any ill will toward them.

    Mengele was an intensely interested man, and a very interesting man at that.

    YOU need fucking help, or better yet your tongue split and burned out, in the name of science

  • Reply May 7, 2011

    bohem

    REVGREEN, I can’t agree more. JOHN “my eyes light up”?? Sick, sick thing to say

  • Reply May 19, 2011

    dina roi

    i wish someone do experiments on u removed your heart without anesthesia oops sorry i forgot ur heartless so it’s better to suffers u more after all it’s for the sake of science’right???

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Andy

    What Mengele did to this poor family, and his countless subjects is truly horrifying and evil. Mengele lived a pathetic and hunted existence after the war. He lived under a false name, a false life, and constantly lived in fear from being captured and killed by Mossad. He ultimately was buried under a false name and is believed to have had a stroke and drowned at a beach in Brazil. He couldn’t run away from death in the end.

  • Reply June 13, 2011

    Sagar

    John…..

    Its utterly amazing how you think..
    maybe we just need to amputate you or cut you or sample a portion of your bain or maybe other organs, all when you are awake & not under anesthesia just to examine your sweet responses…in the name of science u know…u’ll love it…

  • Reply October 25, 2011

    SKD

    Get over it people. All the self-righteous, heart-wrenching crap gets on my nerves. The man was cruel and sadistic, but I hate all the dumb cattle that have to make sure everyone knows how holier-than-thou they are.

  • Reply November 9, 2011

    Tiffani Hall

    In history class we learned this and it was so gruesome that my teacher wouldn’t ever explain it to us.. so i did some research about it and i now know why he didn’t even explain it. that is soo sad! that man is sick..!

  • Reply November 21, 2011

    Lucridlucifel

    This article was wonderfully done. I feel more enlightened about this particular case. I was a bit unsure and unclear about the case itself, but this essay is a good rendition to the reader that wasn’t aware of it.

    It’s heart breaking the crimes against humanity during this time period. The Orvitz family was brave and courageous enough to survive such a feat. Many of the victims of the Holocaust suffered such unjust cruelties. Too bad Dr. Mengele didn’t pay for his crimes through the criminal justice system. There’s no excuse to harm life in such a brutal manner, human or animal, in the name of science. Science has its ethics too. And this really crossed the line far from it.

  • Reply March 28, 2012

    Kendra Taylor

    I wish the most painful and humiliating treatment of Josef Mengele in the aftermath. It’s so sad and disgusting that he was able to live a relativeley peaceful life in Brazil (and most likely Argentina) while many suffered agonizingly under his macabre curiousity.

  • Reply March 28, 2012

    Kendra Taylor

    I wish the most painful and humiliating treatment of Josef Mengele in the aftermath. It’s so sad and disgusting that he was able to live a relativeley peaceful life in Brazil (and most likely Argentina) while many suffered agonizingly under his macabre curiousity.

  • Reply March 28, 2012

    The Human Marvels

    I believe, sadly, that Mengele passed away on a beach somewhere. Truly not a fitting demise for such a monster.

    • Reply March 28, 2012

      Rachel Koladis

      Thank you for writing. Very sad story, but a very brave family.

    • Reply March 28, 2012

      Rachel Koladis

      Thank you for writing. Very sad story, but a very brave family.

    • Reply March 28, 2012

      Gigi Santa Barbara

      mengele passed away swimming in a beach in Brazil. Fairly not too long ago.

    • Reply March 28, 2012

      Gigi Santa Barbara

      mengele passed away swimming in a beach in Brazil. Fairly not too long ago.

    • Reply March 28, 2012

      Gigi Santa Barbara

      Mangele believe or not fleet to south America, married a Brazilian woman, and worked as a doctor a lot of times volunteering his service free for poor people in that small village. He died of a heart attack swimming. His wife buried him, and later received a letter from his son. later the authorities opened his tomb to get a exemplo of his body, and confirmed that was indeed him… I agree, this cold blood monster had a nice end, compared to what he did with his young victims….what a cruel person, is almost unbelievable such things he did…. almost like a horror fictional book.

  • Reply May 31, 2012

    Tara

    people really do believe these propaganda stories? that’s sad. so sad.

  • Reply June 21, 2012

    Joe

    I agree with john, but to an extent. I would prefer seeing experiments like this done on the murderers and rapists who were sentenced to life in prison or death. I agree that it is unessescary to to horrible tests on the innocent children and adults, but what about all the vermin in prison, who have done society no good? Personally, I want my medical testing done this way because it is the most accurate way of testing, rather than testing on rats,who have a similar, yet never exact, bod tg system as humans.

    Mengle had good intent, but he simply took his experiments waaaaaaaaay too far.

    We also have to remember that Jews and other social minorities were, in the eyes of Nazi Germany, just as good as the convicts in prison. Hitler made the people think that they were to blame for Germany’s sanctions from WWI, so people did not care about what happened to them. Mengle and the other Nazis are evil today, but only because the modern world is not as familiar with large scale atrocities, and has surrounded itself with an lEveryone is Good” mentality.

    I am not antisemetic, nor am I a nazi. I simply took a good look at both sides of this conflict, and formed an educated opinion.

  • Reply October 12, 2012

    Nineveh

    Joe,

    You are an idiot. Please be silent.

  • Reply October 20, 2012

    Joe

    @nineveh How is that? Because I know a thing or two about history?

  • Reply January 14, 2013

    Ria

    All of you who act so offended by this DR’s actions but then turnaround and want the same thing done to him and even wish harm to the people who have written comments that don’t share your view. Shame on you bad is bad. These kind of inhumane acts are happening now but the fact that people are in denial will allow abuse to continue.

  • Reply February 11, 2013

    mary

    Disclaimer: I do not approve of the psychopaths methods. And I believe he should have been caught. And I do not use his name because he does not deserve that respect….

    It is true that he performed many unethical meaningless experiments on scores of innocent peopl for no apparent reason. But some of his work was actually valuable as in the hypothermia experiments. There are man of his experiments that would help with even today’s science that are not used for obvious ethical reasonings.

    Also, I I don’t think it would have mattered to him anyway, but after these atrocities of science, rules of research and and ethics came about hard. But it still did not stop everything such as the east Germans experimenting with German women using steroids to gain an advantage in the Olympics. Also Americans testing in tuskageegee on black Americans with syphyllis. Not as terrorist but unethical nonetheless. The prison thing had been done already to people who were not in a position today no. Also much torture was done in asylums to the patients in the name of science. Just as with everything else though… What was considered ethical then is not now. And what is ethical now may not be in the future. We as humans are always learning and evolving and hopefully it is for the better.

    The point of the topic is the ovitz family.
    It makes me happy that they remained strong and carried on with their lives evenchronicaling it in song. No better way to say…. We didn’t just survive we went on and thrived

  • Reply September 23, 2014

    lisa continueum

    anyone who defends this Nazi bastard in any way, shape or form is just as fucking sick as he was, and I hope all of you burn in Hell for eternity, because this world is a shittier place with you in it. Then Lucifer can show you what true suffering is, and I will be laughing my ass off.

  • Reply November 24, 2014

    Anna

    He was a sadist and pure evil not a scientist.

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