The fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has fascinated children for generations since it was first published in Germany in 1812 by the Brothers Grimm. But this is a tale about a real family of seven dwarfs. They fell into the hands of the Germans during World War II, and their story is anything but a delightful fairy tale.
The Ovitz family lived in the Transylvanian region of Hungary, in a small village called Rozavlea. Their father, Shimson Eizik Ovitz, had 10 children over the course of two marriages and seven of those, five girls and two boys, suffered from dwarfism, as did he himself. Ovitz was an entertainer and a rabbi, and it was to entertainment that his children would turn after his death in 1923.
They formed a musical group called the Lilliput Troupe and performed in eastern Europe through the 1930s and into the 1940s. They worked in Hungary, Romania and Czechoslovakia singing in a variety of languages including Hungarian, German and Yiddish. The full-sized members of the family acted as stage hands.