Birth Name: Elke Sommer
Birth Place: Berlin, DE
Elke Sommer was born Elke Schletz in Berlin's Spandau district on Nov. 5, 1940, mere weeks after Great Britain's Royal Air Force began bombing the Nazi capital in an attempt to undermine the expansion of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. In 1942, Peter Schletz, a Lutheran pastor, evacuated his wife and only child to a basement apartment in the Franconian village of Niederndorf in southern Germany. To supplement her husband's meager income, Renata Topp took in the laundry of her neighbors and clothed her daughter in cast-offs; until she was 13, Elke Sommer never wore a dress. Beset by chronic illness, Peter Schletz died in 1955, leaving the family in greater financial straits. One of only five fema...