102-year-old Holocaust survivor is the face of Vogue Germany

Margot Friedländer is one of the best-known survivors in Germany and has dedicated her life to Holocaust education


Margot Friedländer on the cover of the magazine in Germany (Photo: Screen grab Twitter)

The stars of Vogue covers are usually celebrities and top models, but the glossy fashion magazine has broken with tradition to celebrate a 102-year-old Holocaust survivor as its cover star.

Margot Friedländer, born Anni Margot Bendheim in Berlin in 1921, is the latest to be shot for the cover of the German edition for July/August.

Friedländer, whose elegant portrait is on the cover, was interviewed by the fashion bible about her lifelong commitment to Holocaust education.

“Don't look at what separates you. Look at what unites you,” she told the magazine in an interview.

Margot set up a charitable foundation in her name after her family was murdered at Auschwitz and is one the most well-known survivors in Germany.

Vogue journalist Miriam Amro interviewed the survivor for the magazine.

Writing about her meeting with Margot, Amro said: “She still remembers exactly how it all started. That’s why she wants to speak. On behalf of the victims who can no longer speak.

“Margot’s mother voluntarily surrendered to the Nazis when her younger brother was taken away, leaving Margot behind. In 1943, when she was 21, she had to go into hiding and live underground. Germans helped her, but probably not always without expectations of her. She doesn’t talk about what exactly she had to endure and put up with.

“She had her nose operated on because she looked “too Jewish”, dyed her hair red, and put a necklace with a cross around her neck, just to ‘Aryanise’ herself as much as possible. Despite this, she was discovered in 1944, and betrayed to the SS who deported her to the Theresienstadt concentration camp.”

After the war, Margot married Adolf Friedländer and moved to New York. But after her husband died she returned to Berlin at the age of 88 in 1997.

Speaking to Vogue about how she finds happiness despite what she has been through Margot said: “I am satisfied. What more can I ask for from life?”

Margot, who was shot for the cover wearing a striking red coat, was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from the Free University of Berlin’s Department of History and cultural studies for her services as a contemporary witness.

She has also written a biography about her experiences called “Try to make your life.”

Her foundation runs an awards ceremony in Germany that celebrates young people and adults for their work in fighting antisemitism, racism, exclusion and xenophobia, as well as for freedom and democracy.

The World Jewish Congress said it was “very excited” to see Margot grace the cover of Vogue Germany.

In a statement posted to Twitter/X it wrote: “At 102, Friedländer is one of Germany’s most vocal and well-known Holocaust survivors. She continues to advocate for Shoah education, speaking to young people about her experiences and teaching them the values of tolerance and humanity.

“WJC had the honour of collaborating with Friedländer on several Holocaust education projects as part of our #WeRemember campaign every year for International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27.”

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