Nazi survivor and women’s rights activist, Simone Veil, dies at age 89.
Simone Veil, a nazi survivor and women’s rights activist, has reportedly died at her home at the age of 89. Veil is considered among the French to be a symbol of bravery and courage.
She had spent a year of her life in a Nazi death camp in Poland. She was sent there in a cattle car, and had the number 78651 “tattooed on her arm by the Nazis, reducing her to just a number.
“From then on, each of us was just a number, seared into our flesh,” she had said. “A number we had to learn by heart, since we had lost all identity.”
“Sixty years later I am still haunted by the images, the odours, the cries, the humiliation, the blows and the sky filled with the smoke of the crematoriums.” she said in an interview in 2005.
Veil also went on to be a fighter for women’s rights, having written France’s abortion laws. Abortion became legal in France in 1974 and has been named “Veil’s law” after her.
“I apologize for doing it in front of this assembly comprised almost exclusively of men,” she had said. “No woman resorts to abortion lightheartedly.”
Tributes to The Star
Emmanuel Macron, the French President, sent out a tweet to mourn Veil: “May her example inspire our fellow citizens, as the best of what France can achieve.”
He also issued a statement, saying: “Her uncompromising humanism, wrought by the horror of the camps, made her the constant ally of the weakest, and the resolute enemy of any political compromise with the extreme right,” he said.
Simone Benzaquen, Paris’ American Jewish Committee head also tweeted: “Immense sadness at the announcement of the death of Simon Veil, a model of courage for women, for commitment to France, and to Europe.”