Bertha was born to Jewish parents in the capital of East Prussia. Her father served on the Koenigsberg city council. In 1887 Bertha married Hugo Gottschalk, and the couple settled in the small town of Schlawe in northern Germany. There, Hugo owned the town's grain mill. The Gottschalks raised their four children in a home near a small stream, ringed by orchards and a large garden.
1933-39: My daughter Nanny and I have moved to Berlin--Hugo passed away in 1934 and we were afraid of the growing antisemitism in Schlawe. We'd hoped that, as Jews, we'd be less conspicuous here in a large city. But the Nazis have ordered all sorts of restrictions for Jews--recently I had to register my jewelry and silver. My daughter Gertrud has sent her three daughters to England. I would also like to leave, but it's difficult to get an exit visa.
1940-42: Nanny and I have been deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia, where we've been assigned to a dirty, crowded and lice-infested room on the second floor of a house. Nanny hauls in bags of sawdust, which we burn to heat our room. I had a chance to go to America in 1941, but I refused to go without Nanny. My days in Schlawe are a distant memory now.
Bertha died in Theresienstadt on November 23, 1942.