Be alert! Be human!

“What is this award for? Not for success in sports or writing a good essay. It is rather in recognition of something of boundless importance: your humane engagement. Express your opinion! Be alert! Be human!” Together with its initiator Margot Friedländer, a Holocaust survivor from Berlin, the Margot Friedländer Award is committed to keeping diversity in Europe alive.


Born in Berlin in 1921, Margot Friedländer survived war and persecution in Berlin’s underground and then in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. In 1946 she emigrated to New York. In 2003 she accepted the invitation of the Berlin Senate to visit her former home city. Thomas Halaczinsky’s documentary “Don’t Call it Heimweh” (USA 2004) documents Margot Friedländer’s visit to Berlin. Her autobiography “Try to Make Your Life” (BEA Press, Potomac USA, 2008) appeared in 2008.

Return to Berlin

After a number of subsequent visits to Berlin, Margot Friedländer decided to move back to the city permanently in 2010. She had her German citizenship restored. On November 9th, 2011, she was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit with Ribbon from President Christian Wulff in Bellevue Palace. Since her return Margot Friedländer has regularly visited schools and other institutions all over Germany to speak about her life and to help young people to develop their moral and civic courage.

Further selected background information about Margot Friedländer:

Honours and awards

  • Honorary citizen of Berlin (together with Inge Deutschkron) (2018)
  • Recipient of the German Jewish History Award from the Obermayer Foundation (2018)
  • Federal Cross of Merit (with Ribbon) of the Order of the Federal Republic of Germany (2011)
  • Recipient of the Einhard Prize (2009)
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