Jewish Women Encyklopedia.
1896 – 1990
by Marion Levenson Ross
In 1935, Lotte Jacobi rejected the Nazis’ offer to grant her honorary Aryan
status and fled first to London and then to the United States, where she became
one of America’s foremost portrait photographers.
Born Johanna Alexandre Jacobi on August 17, 1896, in Thorn, West Prussia,
Germany, to Maria and Sigismund Jacobi, she was called Lotte by her family and
thereafter by all others. Jacobi began taking pictures as a young child, using a
pinhole camera that her father constructed for her as a birthday present. The
oldest of three children (her sister was also a photographer; her brother died
following an accident at age twenty), she grew up in a family of photographers.
Her great-grandfather Samuel Jacobi learned his craft in 1839 from Louis
Daguerre, the inventor of modern photography. Samuel Jacobi founded a studio in
West Prussia that was carried on by his son Alexander; his grandson Sigismund,
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