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Synopsis

During the 1930s and 40s the Lilliput Troupe, a beloved and successful family of singers and actors, dazzled with their vaudeville programme and unique performances. The only all-dwarf show of the time, their small stature earned them fame – and, ironically, ultimately saved their lives. As Hitler’s war descended, the Ovitz family – seven of whom were dwarfs – was plunged into the horrors of the darkest moments in modern history. Descending from the cattle train into the death camp of Auschwitz, they were separated from other Jewish victims on the orders of one Dr Joseph Mengele, the ‘Angel of Death’. Obsessed with eugenics, Dr Mengele carried out a series of loathsome experiments on the family and developed a disturbing fondness for his human lab-rats, so much so that when the Russian army liberated Auschwitz, all members of the family – the youngest, a baby boy just eighteen months old; the oldest, a 58-year-old woman – were still alive. Based on exhaustive research and interviews with Perla Ovitz, the troupe’s last-surviving member, and scores of Auschwitz survivors, authors Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev deftly describe the moving and inspirational story of this remarkable family and their indomitable will to survive.

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