Happy 90th Lotte

December 20, 2013 by Henry Benjamin
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On of Sydney’s great characters Lotte Weiss has celebrated her 90th birthday at Sydney’s Montefiore Home in Randwick…

Gary, Lotte and John Weiss

Gary, Lotte and John Weiss   photo: Henry Benjamin

Lotte Weiss was born in Bratislava in 1923. She was sent to the concentration camps by the Nazis in March, 1942 in the first transport of Jews from the Slovak city. She was held captive in many camps but was an inmate of the notorious Auschwitz for more than three years.

In May, 1945 Lotte was freed by Russian troops at Theriesenstadt, returning to her home in Bratislava where she lived until 1948. She was the only survivor in her family. In 1948 she and her husband Ali emigrated to Wellington in New Zealand where her brother-in-law had established himself.

In 1982, Lotte’s husband Ali passed away and four years later she was on the move again…this time joining her sons John and Gary who had moved across the Tasman to Sydney to pursue their business careers.

Lotte soon made herself at home in the harbour city endearing herself to all who met her and in 2009 she yielded to her own motto ‘if I can’t have what I like, then I’d better like what I have’ and took up residence at Randwick’s Sir Mose Montefiore Home.

Although she found herself in need of some of the Monte’s facilities, the intrepid community worker did not hang up her shingle and continues to do voluntary work at the Sydney Jewish Museum every week as well as visit schools to talk about her Holocaust experiences.

She told J-Wire: “People should never know what it is like to be persecuted. I was one of eight but the others perished. That pain will never go away.”

But Lotte is always to be seen with a smile on her face. “People should stay positive…they will stay human if they appreciate humanity.”

Her advice to the generations behind her…”Be kind…be a decent human being…no fights and no jealousy.”

Slovakia has issued a special commemorative coin honoring the 250th anniversary of the birth of Rabbi Moshe Schreiber, known as the Chatam Sofer.

One was presented to this very special woman who has a concentration camp tattoo branded on one arm and  the love of her family including six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren and the respect of a huge number of the Sydney Jewish community branded into her spirit.

J-Wire hopes she remains one of Sydney’s great characters bis 120.

 

 

Comments

2 Responses to “Happy 90th Lotte”
  1. Maxine says:

    Mazaltov to an amazingly positive, warm and intelligent lady !
    I (and my darling Morrie Z”L ) wish you good health and happiness together with your family.
    Love,
    Maxine.