Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven was born as Elsa Plötz on July 12, 1874, in a city of Swinemünde, Province of Pomerania, German Empire (currently Świnoujście in Poland). She was a daughter of Adolf Plötz, a contractor, and Ida Marie Kleist.
Elsa had difficult relationships with her father because of his rough control over the family. She loved more her mother who was according to Elsa a kind-hearted person.
Elsa had two younger sisters, one of whom was named Charlotte Louise.
Freytag-Loringhoven’s mother died in February of 1893. Soon, the relationships between Elsa and her father worsened. After her father’s remarriage, von Freytag-Loringhoven left her family home and fled to Berlin to her aunt.