Holocaust survivor Margot Friedländer (100) has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Freie Universität Berlin. The cultural scientist Aleida Assmann explained that she embodies in an outstanding way a form of democratic education that appeals to the mind and the heart in equal measure.

Friedländer’s impulse is so important at a time “when fewer and fewer contemporary witnesses of the Holocaust are still speaking out and on the other hand the composition of society is changing rapidly,” quoted the university on Wednesday from the laudatory speech.

Anyone can become a secondary witness. But young people also need to be encouraged, empowered and educated. “The schools and universities have a share of the responsibility here,” says Assmann.

Friedländer’s honorary doctorate was proposed by the Department of History and Cultural Studies.

Friedländer has already received the Federal Cross of Merit for her commitment as a contemporary witness, she is an honorary citizen of Berlin.

[If you want to have all the latest news live on your mobile phone, we recommend our app, which you can download here for Apple and Android devices.]

Her family was deported to Auschwitz and murdered. She herself was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp.

[Remembrance in the Berlin neighborhood – always a topic in the district newsletters from the Tagesspiegel, order free of charge at leute.tagesspiegel.de]

After the war, she went to the USA with her husband Adolf Friedländer in 1946. A few years after Friedländer’s death, Margot Friedländer returned to her old hometown of Berlin.