Lotte Reches, Dr. Bronner's younger sister born in 1916, passed away last week on March 26, 2009. Lotte was an amazing woman, gentle and kind but also strong and sharp-witted. We're grateful for her love and for inspiring us with her life, connecting us to our larger family and history.
Lotte grew up in Heilbronn, southern Germany, in the orthodox Jewish Heilbronner soapmaking family. She was the youngest born to Berthold and Franciska Heilbronner, eight years younger than older brother Emil (Dr. Bronner).
When she was just sixteen, she joined the Zionist movement in Germany and in 1936 left Nazi Germany for Israel, settling in the Ein Gev kibbutz on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee at the base of the Golan Heights. In the face of great adversity, she struggled with other Kibbutzniks to found a safe home for Jews everywhere in the modern state of Israel.
Lotte met her husband Benjamin Reches at Ein Gev and had two children, Eli and Ora. Eventually she moved her family to Haifa, where she lived until she died. She is survived by her many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren throughout Israel and the U.S.
We were fortunate enough to film a short interview with Lotte in 2007, in which she talks among other things about her childhood and the blending of Israeli and Palestinian olive oils in our soaps.