You may not have heard of Simone Veil, but she is extremely well-known in France. After having survived Auschwitz as a teenager, she went on to fight for the decriminalisation of abortion as health minister, and was the president of the European Parliament.
After her death last year at the age of 89, her remains and those of her husband are being move to the Pantheon in a special ceremony this Sunday, 1st July 2018.
And a lot of other events are celebrating her this month too…
Simone Veil is only the fifth woman to have her remains placed in the Pantheon (which houses over 70 men). This Sunday 1st July, she and her husband will become ppermanent residents.
A final homage to the great lady will be made at the Shoah Memorial (here) on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th June, from 10am-6pm, with the two coffins presented to the public. More info in French here.
On Sunday, a procession will leave the Memorial and stop at place Edmond-Rostand, near the Pantheon. Then, the two coffins will be carried by the Republican Guard up rue Soufflot, covered with a blue carpet for the occasion (symbolising ‘peace and understanding between peoples and Europe’).
This celebration of Europe is part of the official ceremony as a reminder that Simone Veil was once president of the European Parliament.
Other related events:
– From the 1st-8th Julyn entrance to the Pantheon willl be free (opening late at 4pm on 1st & 2nd July), and on Wednesday 4th July there’s a free guided visit for families (in French) givign details of Simone Veil’s life. More info in French here.
– LThe French National Archives have just finished categorising Simone Veil’s personal archives, donated a few years ago. They are now available to reserachers and historians. More info here.
– An exhibition with twenty panels will be on the railing aroudn the Pantheon from 2nd July – 17th September 2018. You’ll learn about her life, her beliefs and her struggles.
– A new 2 euros coin has just been struck with a portriat of Simone Veil on one side. Fifteen million will be put into circulation starting early July.
– The metro station Europe was officially and definitively rebaptised ‘Europe-Simone Veil’ at the end of May.
– And a graphic novel (or comic, if you prefer) has just been published, telling the story of Veil’s life. You can see excerpts from it here and buy it here at amazon.fr (176 pages, 17.95€).