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BornHerbert Levin
September 09, 1906
Berlin, Germany
DiedMay 03, 1977 (age 70)

Herbert Nivelli (1906-1977), born Herbert Levin in Berlin, has been called "The Magician of the Holocaust" because as a prisoner of World War II, he was forced by Nazis to demonstrate magic tricks for them in concentration camps.


In 1933 Nivelli fled from Germany and settled in Czechoslovakia and over time opened seven magic shops. When he decided upon a career in magic, he reversed the spelling of his name to create "Nivelli."

He immigrated to America in 1947, but before leaving Nivelli appeared at the Schiffbauerdamm Theater performing a farewell show called "Laughter and Crying." Part of the show had Nivelli exchange his Auschwitz Concentration Camp clothing for a colorful, bright, and glittered Harlequin costume.

By 1954 Nivelli's reputation was established in the United States, even appearing at the New York Palace.

In his final years Nivelli was a frequent performer on cruise ships. His last show was for a 1,500 member Shrine Convention in Lancaster, Pennsylvania just two days before his death.

Note: Sometimes spelled Nevelli


  • Magic Saved This Man's Life NEVELLI, "In Bruce Reynolds Spotlight, New Conjurors' Magazine, July 1948, page 22.
  • Magician of The Holocaust BY WILLIAM V. RAUSCHER, Linking Ring, November 1986
  • NIVELLI Magician of the Holocaust by William V. Rauscher, Linking Ring June 2005
  • "Magic, Religion, and the Supernatural" (2006), William Rauscher