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October 27, 1989 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-10-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Studio In Harvard Row Mall

The

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Dwarfs Of Auschwitz

GISELA WEISZ

Special to The Jewish News

I

n a modest Haifa apart-
ment a small woman puts
her fading memories on
paper. She is a survivor of
Asuchwitz concentration
camp, where she and her
brothers and sisters, in 1944
and 1945, were victims of
medical experiments by Dr.
Josef Mengele.
Seven dwarfed brothers and
sisters of the Ovics family,
and one of their babies, were
in this special group of in-
mates. The family was kept
alive because their bodies
were used for medical studies.
In the name of science, Dr.
Mengele gave orders to take
their blood regularly and per-
formed numerous and tor-
tuous medical experiments on
them.
Since earliest times men
have tried to solve the riddle
of growth. Dr. Josef Mengele,
the infamous doctor of
Auschwitz, also sought the
answer to this unanswered
question of nature: Why do
some men remain small and
others grow to average
heights?
Elizabeth Ovics Moskowitz,
one of the dwarf sisters, talks
of her family in her book, titl-
ed By the Grace of the Devil.
"Our father — a rabbi —
who was considered dwarfed,
married twice. Of the first
marriage two dwarf girls and
one normal-sized boy were
born. The mother was of nor-
mal growth. Of the second
marriage came eight
children: three dwarfed girls
and two dwarfed boys, two
normal-size girls and one
normal-size boy. The second
wife — our mother — was of
normal size also?'

Brothers and sisters, born
in Hungary before deporta-
tion, worked together as
musical entertainers in East
Europe's larger cities. The
stormy madness of World War
II swept the entertainer
group into Auxchwitz' concen-
tration camps.
The chroniclers of the con-
centration camps say that as
soon as the transports of
human cargoes arrived in
Auschwitz, soldiers scouted
the ranks lined up before the
box cars, hunting for twins
and dwarfs. The selected for-
tunates were allowed tokeep
their civilian clothes, their
food was good and their
bunks comfortable. They were
housed in Barrack 14 of
Camp F. From there, they
were taken regularly by their
guards to the experimenta-
tion-barracks and exposed to
intense medical examination.
Within six weeks, all of the
other people with whom the
Ovics family arrived were
dead. The short sisters were
kept in the same barracks
with the taller ones and with
one of the tall sister's baby
son, Simson. Their blood,
hair, X-rays and other medical
details were regularly
measured. Information gain-
ed from the dwarfs and
medical reports from normal-
sized siblings constantly were
compared.
During the difficult months
in the Auschwitz concentra-
tion camp, the Ovics sisters
remained in touch with their
brothers, who were kept
elsewhere, by sending slips of
papers and messages to them.
Inmates in the experimental
barracks had larger food
rations than inmates in the
rest of the camp. The sisters,
Continued on Page 24

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