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102-year-old Holocaust survivor Margot Friedländer becomes Vogue Germany cover star

102-year-old Holocaust survivor becomes Vogue Germany cover star
102-year-old Holocaust survivor becomes Vogue Germany cover star Copyright Vogue Germany
Copyright Vogue Germany
By David Mouriquand
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Margot Friedländer is one of the world’s oldest survivors of the Holocaust and becomes the second oldest cover star of the magazine. In the issue, she shares that she was “appalled” by the growth of right-wing populism, as well as the rise of antisemitic attacks amid the Israel-Hamas war.

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A 102-year-old Holocaust survivor has been revealed as the cover star for the July / August edition of Vogue Germany.

Kerstin Weng, head of editorial content at the magazine, said that the theme of the issue was love, featuring their “favourite pieces, favourite people.”

The front of the collector’s issue includes the word “love” written by Friedländer, as well as her signature.

Weng noted: “The most positive person I know is on this issue’s cover: Margot Friedländer. To many she is known as a Holocaust survivor. But she not only survived the Nazis, she also overcame betrayal and loss."

"She would have all reason to be bitter, but remains open-minded and refuses to take sides,” Weng added. “She stands up against forgetting and for humanity and togetherness. At 102, she seeks to engage with the younger generation and proves that dialogue is still possible.”

Margot Friedländer, née Bendheim, was born in Berlin in 1921.

According to a bio on the website of Berlin's Jewish Museum, Friedländer spent the early part of the war with her mother and younger brother Ralph after her parents separated. They tried to emigrate the US, unsuccessfully.

The family planned to flee the country but in 1943 her brother was arrested by the Gestapo. Her mother confronted the Gestapo, and was deported to Auschwitz with her son, where they were both murdered.

She left behind a message for her daughter, which Margot brought into hiding: “Try to make your life.”

The 21-year-old went underground, but was tracked down in 1944 and deported to Theresienstadt, in then-Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia.  

She is the only member of her family to survive the camps.

Together with her husband Adolph Friedländer, Margot eventually moved to the US in 1946. They lived in New York for more than six decades, and following her husband’s death aged 88, Friedländer moved back to Berlin and has been living there since 2010.

In her interview with Vogue Germany, Friedländer said: “I am grateful. Grateful that I made it. For being able to fulfil my mother’s wish. That I have made my life.”

Friedländer has been campaigning as a Holocaust educator and she told Vogue Germany that she was “appalled” by the growth of right-wing populism, the rise of the far-right party AfD, as well as the rise of anti-Semitic attacks amid the Israel-Hamas war.

“Do not look at what divides you,” she said in the issue of the magazine. “Look at what unites you. Be human, be reasonable.”

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“You will carry my story onward. That this never comes to happen again.”

The cover of the July / August issue of Vogue Germany
The cover of the July / August issue of Vogue GermanyVogue Germany

Friedländer is not Vogue’s oldest cover model.

Last year, Vogue Philippines chose a 106-year-old Indigenous tattoo artist called Apo Whang-Od to feature on the front of its April issue. She became the oldest person ever to appear on the front of Vogue.

Prior to Whang-Od's appearance in Vogue Philippines, the record for oldest Vogue cover model was held by actress Judi Dench, who appeared on the front of British Vogue in 2020, at the age of 85.

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Additional sources • Vogue Germany

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