Her Motto was "There is a reason why we are put on earth."
Sophie (Ottenheimer) Auerbacher had an exciting life. The world in which she was born, in no way resembled the one she left. Born into humble circumstances, even for her time, she lived through personal and global changes that are extraordinary.
Sophie was born in a little town, Rexingen-Wuerttemberg, Germany, in the depth of the Black Forest, January 14, 1888. From the start Sophie was faced with adversity. When she was nine, her father passed away after a lifelong bout with Asthma. Although she was the youngest of five children, she had to take on responsibilities, to help the family earn money to survive. When her two oldest sisters left the Ottenheimer household to work as maids in Switzerland and France, Sophie took on added responsibilities. Amongst them were delivering bread and rolls in the morning to bring in a little extra money for the family.
Sophie was 16 years old when her aunt and uncle brought her to the United States. They lived in New York and owned a delicatessen. Sophie worked at the deli and also cared for her cousin Milton. At the age of 24 Sophie became ill with diphtheria. She survived, but her ordeal made her long for home and she decided to return to Germany for a short visit.
However, during her stay, her brother Isador's wife died leaving two small children. Since her brother Isador had been drafted in the German army to fight in WWI, the only option was to either put the children in an orphanage or have Sophie stay and take care of them. Sophie, helped by her mother, stayed in Germany until the end of the war to care for her niece and nephew.
Times were hard with the Ottenheimers. In exchange for food, Sophie embroidered dowries for farmer's daughters. When her brother Ludwig was severely wounded in the war, she would bring food to the doctors and nurses in order to assure he got proper care. She was the head of the family till the end of WWI.
Sophie met Alfred Auerbacher after the end of the war, and they were married September 5, 1921. They settled in Kippenheim, Germany where they had three children: Helene in 1923, Else in 1925 and Ruth in 1928.
Alfred was a member of the dissident political party, the Social Democrats. In 1933, the Nazi's came into Kippenheim and arrested a member of the party. Sophie, aware of the implications, contacted the recording secretary and had the list of party members destroyed before it could fall into the hands of the Nazis. Shortly thereafter the family left for the USA.
The Auerbacher's new home was the Bronx. Although they were extremely poor, for the next few decades they often hosted new immigrants and refuges, until jobs and homes could be found. Alfred worked hard to support his family and Sophie worked nights cleaning movie theatres and office buildings.
Each of their three daughters had a boy and a girl: Helene and Mel had Florence and Joseph, Else and Nathan had Susan and David and Ruth and Willie had Stuart and Jo Ann.
Sophie was a hard working women and not the least bit pretentious. She did her own housework, shoveled snow, knit, embroidered, crochet and was always busy till her 93rd year. During her golden years she lived on the ground floor of a house in the Bronx with her daughter Ruth's family living on the second floor. Even during her last years she remained a spirited woman and could be observed yelling at the TV during baseball games.