We learned with deep sadness the disappearance of Simone Veil at the age of 89 years on June 30, 2017.
Mrs. Veil, whose parents and brother died in the Holocaust, was rescued from the Auschwitz where she had been deported at the age of 16. She was an icon of the struggle for the rights of women. She served as Minister of Heath from 1974 to 1979 and was the author of the 1975 law to legalized abortion in France. She had a high-profile idea of the European Union in the Strasbourg Parliament and was chosen as the first woman to be president of the European Parliament. Trained as a lawyer Madame Veil made her life not only a testimony but also a model of republican commitment and courage. Mrs. Veil was the president of the Foundation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah, France’s Holocaust remembrance organization, from 2000 to 2007, and chairwoman of the board of the Trust Fund for Victims from 2003 to 2009.
Speaking at her funeral, French President Macron said: “Her uncompromising humanism, wrought by the horror of the camps, made her the constant ally of the weakest and the resolute enemy of any political compromise with the extreme right”. Mrs. Veil was one of the most admired people in France.
She, and her husband of 71 years will rest at the Pantheon in the Latin Quarter which now functions as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens such as writers Volaire, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Emile Zola, Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas, scientist Marie Curie,and Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz, Germaine Tillion and Jean Moulin, members of the French Resistance are among others buried in the grand neoclassical building.