Lotte Weiss 1923-2021

February 12, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Lotte Weiss, a survivor of Auschwitz, endeared herself in her post-war life to both the Wellington and Sydney Jewish communities. She passed this morning in Sydney. She was 97.

Lotte and granddaughter Amy Weiss. Lotte was inmate 2065 in Auschwitz.

A tribute published by the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand states: “It was with great sadness that we, at the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand (HCNZ), learnt of the recent passing of Lotte Weiss z”l.
May her memory be a blessing.

Lotte, born in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia in 1923, was interned at Auschwitz from 1942 to 1945 and liberated from Theresienstadt in May 1945. She was the sole member of her family to survive the Holocaust.

She reclaimed her life, married and migrated to New Zealand in 1949, raised a family, then moved to Sydney, Australia in 1986.

Lotte was an integral part of the Sydney Jewish Museum and she and her family have also been staunch supporters of HCNZ.

Lotte was one of eight women included in the ‘Auschwitz to Aotearoa’ exhibition and thesis developed by Anna Chapman, MA in 2014, which examined the women’s survival and the role of group formation and luck, as well as their journeys to New Zealand after the Holocaust.

The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand would like to express our deepest condolences to the Weiss family. We wish them long life.”

In her book My Two Lives, Lotte wrote: ” In spite of all my sufferings and the greatest losses a human being can endure, I remain a person with hope. I still have a belief that the majority of people are decent. I hope and pray that there will be peace and harmony amongst the people of the universe”.

In Sydney, she was a luminary through her voluntary work at the Sydney Jewish Museum where she lectured schoolchildren about life in Auschwitz.

Her son Gary speaking on behalf of himself and his brother Johnny told J-Wire: “We were blessed to have Lot as our mother and so proud to know that she inspired and gave hope and optimism to many.”

CEO of the Sydney Jewish Museum Norman Seligman said: “On behalf of the whole Museum family I want to say how deeply saddened we all are on the passing of much beloved Holocaust survivor Lotte Weiss.

Lotte was passionately involved as a survivor guide at the Museum since its inception in 1992, until ill health curtailed her involvement in the past few years.

Not only was she there during the week talking to thousands of school students, but Sunday wasn’t Sunday if Lotte wasn’t seated in the Auschwitz section of the Museum with a spellbound audience around her.

We can all be so grateful for those miracles that saved her life at a time of incredible tragedy for Lotte personally and the whole Jewish people. Her Auschwitz number 2065 will forever be ingrained in all of our minds.

We wish Johnny, Gary and their families long life”

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies President Lesli Berger said: “Lotte Weiss has been a doyenne of our community for decades. With the most harrowing history behind her, she was the epitome of resilience and strength and an ability to focus on the positive. We extend our sincere condolences to the Weiss family and wish them all Long Life.”

Peter Wertheim, the co-CEO of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, commented: “With the passing of Lotte Weiss, the Jewish community has lost one of its genuine treasures, a unique personal repository of our history and our values.

As she wrote in her book, ‘My two lives’, Lotte’s story is something of a miracle.  Only a small fraction of the Jews who were deported to Auschwitz, as Lotte was in 1942, managed to survive. But to have survived for three years in that hell-on-Earth was truly exceptional.

The greatest miracle was that Lotte then went on to lead a wonderful, happy and productive life in Australia, leaving new generations of her family to follow her.

Lotte gave generously of her time to be a survivor guide at the Sydney Jewish Museum, imparting her story, her wisdom and invaluable lessons to countless visitors, including school students.

Lotte was a living, breathing inspiration to her family and to countless other people she encountered.  Everyone who knew her will miss her.  May her memory be a blessing.

Broadcaster Hugh Riminton told J-Wire: “There is great sadness in our home tonight with the news of Lotte’s passing. My youngest daughter was just six when we met her. Lotte told her – and my older children – something of her wartime life and showed the tattoo on her arm. Later in the Sydney Jewish museum we were shown the “striped pajamas” that Lotte had worn and kept when she was liberated, my six-year-old went home and without telling anyone, carefully drew the threadbare top and pinned it to her wall.

Lotte had a great energy and touched so many people.

Lest we forget.”

JNF CEO Dan Springer said: “Lotte was a treasure of our community, who created so much light, despite having experienced such horrific darkness in her younger years. Our family had the good fortune to know Lotte through her work for my late grandfather, Jack Cadry and she was much loved by us all. Our deepest sympathies are with Johnny, Gary and the family and we wish them all a long life.

Montefiore commented: “Lotte Weiss was a much-loved member of the Montefiore family since she joined us at Randwick more than a decade ago, and will be greatly missed. Lotte will be remembered for the impact she made on the community as one of the founders of the Sydney Jewish Museum, and a regular speaker there well into her 90s. Her passing last week is a reminder that we must continue to listen to the voices of our last treasured Survivors. Wishing her family long life.

Lotte Weiss

Born: Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, 28 November, 1923

Died: Sydney, Australia, 12 February, 2021

Comments

One Response to “Lotte Weiss 1923-2021”
  1. Hugh Riminton says:

    There is great sadness in our home tonight with the news of Lotte’s passing. My youngest daughter was just six when we met her. Lotte told her – and my older children – something of her wartime life and showed the tattoo on her arm. Later in the Sydney Jewish museum we were shown the “striped pajamas” that Lotte had worn and kept when she was liberated, my six year old went home and without telling anyone, carefully drew the threadbare top and pinned it to her wall.
    Lotte had a great energy and touched so many people.
    Lest We Forget.

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