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Honorary Doctorate for Margot Friedländer

Freie Universität Berlin to Honor 100-year-old Holocaust Survivor on May 25, 2022

№ 065/2022 from May 04, 2022

The Department of History and Cultural Studies at Freie Universität Berlin is recognizing Holocaust survivor Margot Friedländer with an honorary doctorate. It will be presented at an award ceremony on May 25 at 5 p.m. in the Henry Ford Building of Freie Universität Berlin. The laudation will be given by the literary and cultural scholar Aleida Assmann, professor emeritus at the University of Contance. Historian Paul Nolte, a professor at Freie Universität, will have a conversation with Margot Friedländer and the history student Vincent Bruckmann. The event is open to the public. Advance registration is required by May 22, 2022, at fu-berlin.de/friedlaender.

By awarding the honorary doctorate, the Department of History and Cultural Studies is recognizing “the extraordinary services of Margot Friedländer as a contemporary witness to the persecution and survival in the Shoah, as a committed advocate of public history, and as an ambassador of remembrance and humanity for younger generations.” She is being honored as an exemplary citizen scientist whose achievements go far beyond conveying her own experiences. According to a statement issued by the department, “Margot Friedländer’s citizen science stands for independent forms of knowledge and reflection on the past, which have become indispensable not only for the history of National Socialism, but also for contemporary history and for historical and cultural studies in general. Freie Universität Berlin recognizes these activities as an outstanding academic achievement. The university is honoring Margot Friedländer as an individual with an unshakable attitude toward humanity, which is based on difficult memories, but who subscribes to the indispensable foundations of free and responsible academic research.”

About Margot Friedländer:
Margot Friedländer was born on November 21, 1921. When the Nazis came to power, at first she managed to hide from them while remaining in Berlin. Her family was deported to Auschwitz and murdered. She herself was deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto. She survived and in 1946 emigrated to the United States with her husband Adolf Friedländer, whom she had met in Theresienstadt. After his death in 1997, she began to write down her memories. They were made into a documentary film called Don’t call it Heimweh, which was released in 2004. Her first return to Berlin was to make the film. In 2010 Rowohlt published her autobiography Versuche, dein Leben zu machen. The book title was taken from her mother’s parting words to her.
Margot Friedländer has made dialogue, especially with young people, her life’s work. Even before her final return from the United States to her hometown of Berlin in 2010, she visited school classes, held readings, and called for vigilance against antisemitism and totalitarianism. In August 2019 Margot Friedländer accepted an invitation from history student Vincent Bruckmann to visit Freie Universität Berlin and give a reading from her book.

Time and Location of Conferral of Honorary Doctorate

  • Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 5 p.m.
  • Freie Universität Berlin, Max Kade Auditorium (Henry Ford Building), Garystraße 35, 14195 Berlin (subway station: Freie Universität/Thielplatz, U3)