Holocaust survivor and Charleston philanthropist dies at 105

Photo courtesy Larry Freudenberg

By Stacy

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- At 32, Margot Freudenberg and her Jewish family left Nazi Germany with nothing. They sailed from England to the United States in 1940 and never returned to their native country.

"She always said, 'We have to pay back what we've received in the U.S.' So I became active in community activities as she did," her son, Henry H. Freudenberg said.

He called her{}"a fixture in Charleston" and said she did everything she could to help the community.

Her son said she started the first list of interpreters for local police and fire departments.{}She was also active in several charities including the American Cancer Society. Freudenberg founded the Charleston Hope Lodge - the first in the country.

"It helped cancer survivors. It gave them a home away from home in close proximity to the medical university," Henry Freudenberg said.

Margot was healthy for most of her life; she went blind from old age in her last three years of life, he said. The only medicine she ever took was for high blood pressure. He said her secret to staying healthy was working hard.

Her son did not find irony in that his mother died on Holocaust Remembrance Day. He said everyone has to die some time.

"I had her for 105 years. She did so many good things. I'm so proud of her," Henry Freudenberg said.

A{}Hope Lodge representative also called Freudenberg a "crown jewel" to the community. She said she hoped more people would follow Freudenberg's example.

There are now 31 Hope Lodges in the United States and{}one in Puerto Rico.

Margot Freudenberg attended reunions at the Hope Lodge up until about a year before her death, officials said.