Tribute to Simone Veil
It was with great sadness that we learned of the loss of Simone Veil, who passed away on Friday June 30, 2017, at the age of 89. A survivor of the Shoah, she was an exceptional woman, motivated by deeply held moral convictions. The first president of the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah, from 2001 to 2007, and honorary president since then, Simone Veil will forever remain a role model for us. All our thoughts go out to her family and loved ones at this time.
A leading figure for the memory of the Shoah, Simone Veil always advocated—not for a “duty of memory” required of everyone—but rather for a recognition of our shared history, of its darkest moments—the Shoah and other genocides—and of its most luminous ones, such as the actions of the Righteous. She was the impetus for the 2007 tribute to them at the Pantheon, by French President Jacques Chirac.
She had her Auschwitz tattoo number, 78651, a symbol of Nazi barbarity and the dehumanization of the camps, engraved on the hilt of her sword when she was enthroned as a member of the Académie Française. She also included the motto of the French Republic, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” and that of the European Union, “United in Diversity.” This fully symbolizes her life story and her efforts to foster human dignity, with one of the most striking illustrations being her unflagging commitment to women’s rights.
Today, France has lost one of its most dignified and eminent citizens. We grieve for this public figure who held such a unique place in the heart of the French. Simone Veil will always remain in our memories as an exceptional woman. It is now up to us, together, to follow in her immense footsteps.
A Life, Simone Veil's memoir (University of Chicago Press, 2009)
Speeches 2002-2007 (Le Manuscrit / Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah, 2007)
All the speeches given by Simone Veil as president of the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah.
Video testimonial of Simone Veil recorded in 1997 by the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, Los Angeles (in French)