French Activist Simone Veil to be Inducted into the Panthéon
The French human rights activist Simone Veil will receive one of the country's highest honors when she is inducted into the Panthéon.
The Panthéon is reserved for French citizens who have contributed to society in a meaningful way, including writers, soldiers, and scientists. Since 1791, 80 citizens have been inducted into the mausoleum. Veil will be only the fifth woman to receive this honor.
Since her death, over 152,700 people have signed a petition demanded that Veil be laid to rest in the Panthéon. French President Emmanuel Macron announced on July 5th that he would respect the wishes of the public and Veil's family.
Veil, who died on June 30th, has a long history of serving the people of France. When she was a teenager, she was imprisoned in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. She lost her parents and her brother to the Holocaust. She went on to become one of France's most beloved and influential politicians. Veil served in the Ministries of Justice and Health, where she worked to improve women's rights. She also served as the European Parliament's first female President. From there, she continued to serve in European and French politics in a variety of roles.
In addition to her active role in politics, Veil was also committed to preserving the memories of the Holocaust and its survivors. She served as the honorary president of the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah, which uses funds recovered from stolen Jewish property to support education and research into the Holocaust.
Simone's husband, Antoine, will also be exhumed and entombed in the Panthéon. Their granddaughter Deborah noted that her grandparents "would not be happy to be separated after sharing their lives together for 65 years."
During Veil's state funeral, President Macron stated this honor shows "the immense gratitude of the people of France to one of its beloved children."
Veil was 89 years old at the time of her death--only two weeks from her birthday.
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