Susi was likely born in 1909 as Charlotte Linda Vogel in the western district of Berlin. In early childhood Susi’s ichthyosis manifested aggressively and her skin quickly thickened, turned grey and cracked to resemble the skin of an elephant.
Susi's condition was severe to the point where it caused her constant physical pain. She was also very suseptible to infections and illnesses as bacteria invaded the major cracks formed in her skin from even her most subtle movements.
During her early years, Susi couldn’t even blink her eyes without risking life-threatening cracks
Susi also endured emotional torment as she was the subject of ridicule by her peers and lived as an outcast from them.
During the hot summer days, while the other children frolicked in the water, Susi rubbed ice over her arms in an effort to cool down as her skin condition left her unable to sweat. As the children pointed and laughed at her she would not shed a single tear. Her condition had robbed her of that ability as well.
Susi’s parents, in an effort to improve the quality of her life and to prevent infection, lathered Susi with generous amounts of oil and moisturizer on a daily basis.
Susi’s parents were also highly concerned with her general appearance and took to peeling the skin from her face on a nightly basis.
Both practices did wonders as her skin became suppler and her facial complexion cleared to reveal a lovely face. Susi would, however, need to repeat the daily procedures for the rest of her life.
Susi first came to the United States in 1927 as part of a troupe consisting of a giantess and a bearded lady and she made multiple subsequent visits to the US.
With her manager, she emigrated to the U.S. from Germany to escape the oncoming war and moved into an apartment on New York’s west side.
Susi left Coney Island in 1933 to be featured in the Ripley’s Believe it or Not?! exhibit at the Chicago World's Fair, where she gave no fewer than eighty performances to a million curious viewers.
When these grind shows became too exhausting for Susi, she traveled to New York and took a low stress job with the Gorman Bros. circus as a member of the menagerie, performing for just an hour a day next to an elephant named Lou.
Susi spoke beautiful English and Walt Hudson recalled she "was a very pleasant girl to converse with". Her favorite hobby was crossword puzzles, and she often asked people to save her the puzzles from their daily papers.
By all accounts Susi was a shy, introverted and quiet woman who preferred to keep a low profile and exhibit sparingly.
She exhibited herself more or less locally until her manager passed away in the late 1960’s. With his death, Susi’s career and heart for the business died as well.
Her last confirmed public appearance was at the Great Allentown Fair in Pennsylvania as a single attraction billed as ‘The Swamp Girl’.
By some accounts Susi retired to Germany, but most report that she passed away in New York City in 1975.