Lotte Rotholz, née Jastrow, was born on 25 September 1923 to Willy and Cäcilie Jastrow, née Brczezinski, in Bentheim, Lower Saxony. In 1925 the Jastrows moved to Forst in Lusatia where Lotte’s father worked as a preacher and religious instructor for the local Jewish community. In 1933 the family settled in Berlin. Here Willy Jastrow worked in the synagogue at Linden Strasse 48-50, Kreuzberg. He lived with his wife and daughter in an apartment in the front building of the grounds.
Lotte Jastrow attended the Berlin Jewish Community’s IVth Jewish Elementary School until 1938. After completing her compulsory year of service in a household, introduced in 1938 for all females under 25, she began a two-year apprenticeship as a tailor. Subsequently she was assigned a post at Spindler, a large laundry, where she worked in dispatch and delivery.
Lotte Jastrow was active in the Jewish youth movement. She was a member of the “Ring – German-Jewish Youth League” (renamed “Ring – Jewish Youth League” in 1936) until it was banned in 1937. She also joined the Zionist “Werkleute” group, who prepared their members for emigration to Palestine.
In October 1940 Lotte Jastrow met native Berliner Siegbert Rotholz. He too had a Jewish background. They married on 10 December 1941. After their marriage they shared the apartment at Linden Strasse 48-50 with Lotte’s mother, Cäcilie Jastrow. Lotte’s father Willy had passed away in June 1941; her brother Manfred had left Germany in 1936.
By spring 1941 Lotte and Siegbert Rotholz had become involved in the discussion and training group around Heinz Joachim and his wife Marianne, which was connected to the Herbert Baum Communist resistance group. An arson attack on the Nazi propaganda exhibition “The Soviet Paradise” by members of this resistance group on 17 May 1942 led to the group’s exposure. Lotte Rotholz and her husband Siegbert were among those subsequently arrested.
On 10 December 1942 the “People’s Court” sentenced Lotte Rotholz to eight years’ imprisonment. Initially detained in the women’s prison in Barnim Strasse, Berlin, she was transferred to Cottbus prison to serve her sentence. But she was soon brought back to Berlin – on 12 October 1943 she was taken to the assembly camp at Grosse Hamburger Strasse. Together with two other members of the resistance group around Herbert Baum, Alice Hirsch and Edith Fraenkel, Lotte Rotholz was deported to Auschwitz on 14 October 1943 on the “44th transport to the East”. Her date of death is not known. Lotte Rotholz’s husband Siegbert was executed on 4 March 1943 in Ploetzensee prison, Berlin. Lotte’s mother Cäcilie Jastrow was deported to Auschwitz a few months before her. She did not survive the camp either.