Short biography of Simone Veil

Simone Veil is the fifth woman to have entered the Pantheon. A look back at the life of a woman who marked her time in many ways.

Simone Veil was born in 1927 in Nice. Her family, of Jewish origin, was secular. Simone Jacob’s childhood was interrupted on October 4, 1940, when the first status of Jews was established. Her father could no longer practice his profession. After spending some time in Carcassonne, with an aunt and uncle, Simone Jacob returned to Nice and passed her baccalaureate in March 1944.

Tragically, however, Simone Jacob was arrested by two Germans during these celebrations.

She transited through the Drancy camp and arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau on April 15, 1944. Simone Jacob survived because the end of the war was near and she was still in good health, which was not the case for her mother, who died in March 1945.

Back in Paris, the three sisters survived, but the father and brother were probably killed. Simone Jacob enrolled in law school and was admitted to the new Institute of Political Studies, where she met her future husband who would give her his name, Veil. She had three children with him between 1947 and 1954. This was also an opportunity to immerse herself in the intellectual milieu of Paris, as her husband entered the ENA. Simone Veil directed the prison administration from 1957 to 1964, then the Directorate of Civil Affairs, then was an advisor from 1969, Secretary General of the High Council of the Judiciary, and finally board of directors of the ORTF.

The election of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and the government of Jacques Chirac placed her in the status of Minister of Health, she is the only woman at this level of power. She had the exceptional task of presenting to Parliament a bill decriminalizing abortion. This law, adopted on November 29, 1974, now bears her name. However, Simone Veil asserted that it was not a question of a “right to abortion”. She left the government after the relative victory of the UDF in the European elections, which she led. She was elected president of the European Parliament on July 17, 1979. Her next mandate was as Minister of State, Social Affairs, Health and City from March 1993, for only two years. She was appointed member of the Constitutional Council in March 1998. She is in turn a supporter of Nicolas Sarkozy, then of the UDI. In 2007, she published an autobiography, Une vie. In November 2008, she was elected to the French Academy. She participated in the Manif pour tous on January 13, 2013, opposed to gay marriage. Simone Veil died on June 30, 2017. A national man is returned to him, in the presence of President Emmanuel Macro, July 5, 2017 at the Invalides.

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