Lotty Spinner, know affectionally by her family and their friends as “ Bubie,” passed away peacefully in her home on February 28, 2022 in Houston, TX. She would have you believe that she was 97 years young. Lotty was born in the village of Sambir, near the modern-day Polish-Ukrainian border, but she spent most of her childhood in the town of Esch-Sur-Alzette, Luxembourg prior to the outbreak of World War II. She was preceded in death by her husband, Herschel (Harry), her father, Max, her mother, Sarah, and her younger brother, Izzy, of blessed memory.
Lotty had fond memories of her childhood in Luxembourg. She excelled in languages, and she enjoyed going to the cinema with her friends and eating the best chocolates she could find when she wasn’t in school or helping out in her father’s clothing shop. In 1940, Lotty, along with the rest of her family, fled Luxembourg just as the Nazis were entering the small country. Her family first arrived in Paris, but to ensure their safety, they never stayed in one place for too long. They hid throughout the South of France, making their way to Megève, Lodève, and finally to Nice. Her parents, brother, and Uncle Maurice all miraculously survived the Shoah largely due to the extraordinary strength, bravery, resourcefulness, and cunning of teenage Lotty during those horrible years. She was responsible for getting them food and keeping them safe.
After liberation, Lotty continued employing her resourcefulness and excellence in languages as an interpreter working with the US Army, aiding in both the war efforts in the months leading up to the Allied victory and in the rebuilding efforts immediately following its conclusion. Eventually, Lotty and her family moved back to Esch, Luxembourg, where Lotty was instrumental in helping her family rebuild what they had lost. During that time, Lotty located and connected with Herschel (Harry) Spinner, who was rehabilitating in a displaced persons camp in Munich, Germany. The two fell in love, exchanging letters with each other. Again, Lotty displayed her bravery and resourcefulness when she smuggled Harry across several international borders as the Iron Curtain was emerging across post-war Europe.
In the spring of 1950, Lotty and Harry were wed in an intimate gathering in Esch, surrounded by their surviving relatives and a few close friends. Shortly after they were married, Harry was sponsored by a distant cousin in Houston, and so they moved to Houston to start a new life.
Lotty found a job in a clothing store the second day after arriving in Houston. Given her knowledge of the clothing business, along with her French accent and amazing personality, she became a successful saleswoman in the clothing business while providing a kosher home for her and Harry.
Lotty gave up her work when her daughter, Sharon, was born three years later, and her son, Stanley, came along three years after that. Lotty chose to devote herself to raising her two children when they were growing up, and then later she became involved with Pioneer Women and Children of the Holocaust. Teaching her family and sharing her experience with others about the Holocaust was very important to her. Although she and Harry had two very different upbringings and endured different traumatic experiences in the years preceding their marriage, the couple shared strongly held beliefs and values. The enduring love and devotion they held for one another are no better exemplified than by Lotty’ s decision and strength to care for Harry at home during his 16-year battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Harry passed away just a few weeks before their 50th wedding anniversary.
Lotty adored her four grandchildren, Michael, Joey, Jenna, and Shaun, and they absolutely adored her. She was so happy that her small family all lived in Houston, so she could always be there for and with them. She most enjoyed spending time with her family for Friday night Shabbat dinners and the holidays, which were always adorned by her famous chopped liver and gefilte fish.
In her later years, Lotty was determined to take care of herself, and she did so until her final years, when she reluctantly allowed for a caregiver, Nina, to help her. For 8 years, Nina took impeccable care of Lotty, who remained full of life and vigor, until time and isolation caused by the pandemic finally began to take their toll.
Throughout her long and remarkable life, Lotty remained the ultimate optimist, always telling us that no matter how dark the sky may be, there was always sunshine just around the corner. She will be remembered for her loving spirit, her devotion to her family, her constant smile no matter the circumstances, and her cunning wit, which touched so many people. She will also be remembered for her many “Bubie-isms”; several words that became her own language to share with her children and grandchildren. The world is definitely a much better place because of her.
Lotty is survived by her children, Sharon Cohen and husband Steven Cohen and Dr. Stanley Spinner and wife Helen Spinner; her four grandchildren, Michael Cohen and wife Angela Cohen, Dr. Joseph Spinner and wife Emily Spinner, Jenna Cohen and husband Dr. Ari Cohen, and Shaun Spinner; and her seven great-grandchildren, David and Izzie Cohen, Hazel, Eliza, and Ezra Cohen, and Hannah and Julia Spinner.
For those wishing to make donations in Lotty’ s memory, the family asks that donations be made to The Holocaust Museum Houston https://hmh.org/give/.