French rights icon Simone Veil set for rare Pantheon burial
French Holocaust survivor and rights icon Simone Veil, who died last year aged 89, will receive the rare honour of a burial in July at the Pantheon in Paris, the president’s office said Monday.
Veil will become only the fifth woman to be buried in the Paris monument, which houses the remains of great national figures, and only the fourth to be interred there on her own merits.
She will join Polish-born French scientist Marie Curie; two French Resistance members who were deported to Germany, Genevieve de Gaulle-Anthonioz and Germaine Tillion; and Sophie Berthelot, who was buried alongside her chemist husband Marcellin Berthelot.
Veil was deported to Auschwitz in 1944 while still a teenager.
She survived the concentration camps that claimed the lives of her mother, father and brother, and went on to become an indefatigable crusader for women’s rights and European reconciliation.
Her biggest political achievement was pushing through a law to legalise abortion in France in 1974 in the face of fierce opposition.
French President Emmanuel Macron said at her funeral last year he had decided to honour her with a place in the Pantheon to show “the immense gratitude of the French people to one of its most loved children.”
France’s National Monuments Centre said Monday that Veil’s body would spend the night of June 30 under the watch of the Republican Guard before being deposited in the Pantheon’s crypt in a ceremony to be broadcast live on television the following day.
Among the other luminaries buried there are writers Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Emile Zola.