Lotte joined the communist resistance to destabilise the Wehrmacht.
Lotte Sontag (°12/11/1920, Vienna) fled from Austria to Belgium in August 1938. In Vienna she worked in a perfumery, but Lotte had to flee because of increasing persecution. She herself was held in prison for three weeks because of her political ideas. For Lotte is a communist and was a member of the Österreichischen Kommunistischen Jugendverbands (Austrian Communist Youth League) in Vienna. Finally, in August 1938, together with her peer Hertha Ligeti, she crossed the Belgian border on foot near Aachen. Lotte chose Belgium because it was a democratic country and the perception was that political refugees were treated fairly. Upon her arrival in Belgium, Lotte signs a document in which she declares not to engage in political activities. She also agrees to the fact that she is not allowed to work in Belgium without the proper papers. Fortunately, Lotte can count on the material support of the Jewish Committee, which pays her a weekly allowance on which she can live. Once in Belgium Lotte went to live with Hertha in Hoogstraat in the Marolles. From this place she and other young women spread communist propaganda. She also takes part in discussions about political subjects, such as the political refugee issue. In August 1939 Lotte moves, together with Hertha, to Voorspoedstraat in Molenbeek. In February 1940 Lotte’s brother Eli (°14/10/1909, Vienna) also turns out to be staying at this address. Eli was a communist, just like his sister. In 1941 Lotte and Hertha stayed at Bekkenvoort Castle for a few months before moving back to Voorspoedstraat in Molenbeek.
In May 1940 Nazi Germany invaded Belgium. Lotte joins the Österreichisches Freiheitsfront (Austrian Freedom Front) and together with Hertha Ligeti and Marianne Bradt tries to destabilise the Wehrmacht and spread anti-Nazi propaganda. The three young women engaged in the illegal distribution of a clandestine anti-fascist pamphlet to soldiers: Die Wahrheit. The author of this pamphlet is philosopher and journalist Hans Maier, better known as Jean Améry. On 13 June, Lotte is finally arrested and imprisoned in the Saint-Gilles prison, accused of “fomenting defeatism in the German army”. Her friends were arrested not much later. Hertha, Lotte and Marianne were subjected to violent interrogations by the Sicherheitspolizei-Sicherheitsdienst (Sipo-SD) in the Sint-Gillis prison. On 2 November 1943 the three young Jewish women were transferred to the Dossin Barracks. Here too, Lotte was locked up in a cell because of her acts of resistance and subjected to further violent interrogations. Finally, Lotte, Hertha and Marianne were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau on transport XXIII on 15 January 1944. Lotte managed to survive this terrible period.
Source: Laurence Schram, Dossin: de wachtkamer van Auschwitz, Lannoo, 2018, 209-210.