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Our friend Hédi Fried has passed away

Portrait of Hédi Fried, 2014

We mourn the death of our friend Hédi Fried, who died yesterday in Stockholm at the age of 98.

Up until her later years, Hédi Fried fought tirelessly against right-wing extremism, anti-Semitism and racism, as well as for a democratic and humane society. This why she, along with her younger sister Livia Fränkel, took on the task of retelling her story, of the racist persecution of her family in Nazi-occupied Hungary, and of the murder of her parents in the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. The sisters had formed a close bond in the camp after their parents' deaths and together survived not only the Auschwitz concentration camp, but also three subcamps of the Neuengamme concentration camp and the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

After liberation, they emigrated to Sweden together, founded their own families and remained in consistent close contact with each other. They saw it as their duty to tell young people in particular about the National Socialist crimes and to encourage them to show civil courage and raise their voices against injustice and fascism. Hédi Fried, who was a psychologist, also founded the "Café 84" in Stockholm in 1984, where survivors of the Shoah could meet and exchange ideas.

Both sisters were widely recognised for their political commitment against forgetting the past, and became well-known personalities in Swedish society. They were also frequent guests at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial and became dear friends to us.

People like Hédi Fried fought all their lives to make this world a better place. Only she herself knew how much strength this work cost her. Her futile effort to prevent the current Swedish government from collaborating with the right-wing Sweden Democrats was a final heavy blow in her political commitment, as was the current world situation. She was tired.

We mourn together with the large Fried/Fränkel family, which both sisters always claimed as their victory over the Nazis. In particular, we wish Hédi's sister Livi that she manages to cope with the loss of her sister and not to lose courage

Family photo: Chanukka, 2019