Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan
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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Simone Veil Is in the Panthéon

Simone Jacob Veil (b. 13 July 1927)


The French politician Simone Veil died on 30 June 2017, just days before her ninetieth birthday. 

Simone Jacob Veil
Born in Nice, the young Simone Jacob and her family were arrested by the Nazis in 1944.

After her arrest, she was sent, first, to Auschwitz, then later transported to Bergen-Belsen. She survived her ordeal in the concentration camp.

Simone Jacob met and married Antoine Veil after the war, while studying law and political science. Throughout her subsequent career, she worked in the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Health, her work on behalf of women culminating in a 1975 landmark act legalizing abortion, a law now referred to as "Veil's Law.."

When faced by the opposition of male colleagues, many of whom compared abortion to Nazi concentration camps, she responded,
I will share a conviction of women, and I apologize for doing it in front of this assembly comprised almost exclusively of men: No woman resorts to abortion lightheartedly.
In 1979, Veil was elected to the European Parliament, where she served as its first president. She was also the president of the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah, an organization devoted to Holocaust remembrance and research. 

After 1994, Veil returned to service in the French government--as Minister of State, Minister of Health, Minister of Social Affairs, and, then, in 1996, was appointed to the Constitutional Council of France.
President Emmanuel Macron paying homage
to Simone Veil at her funeral.

After Veil's death, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that she would be honored by interment in the Panthéon mausoleum.

Of the 80 French citizens recognized there for their distinguished service to the French Republic, she is only the fifth woman to be so honored. (The first was Marie Curie. The two other women are Genevieve de Gaulle-Anthonioz and Germaine Tillion, both members of the French resistance.)