The Holocaust survivor who became France’s health minister and the first female president of the European Parliament passed away yesterday at the age of 89. The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office stated that she “never forgot her Jewish roots, the command to remember those who perished and the duty to ensure that the events of the Holocaust never happen again.”
Watch; Footage of Veil from over the years
French Holocaust survivor Simone Veil passed away on Friday at the age of 89. Veil served as the health minister in the governments led by two French prime ministers, Jacques Chirac and Raymond Barre. She was also the first female president of the European Parliament.
Veil was born in Nice and in 1944, she was deported from France along with her family. Veil, her mother and her sister were sent to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. At the end of the war, she returned to France and studied law and political science. During her studies, she met and married Antoine Veil.
Veil Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News
As France’s health minister, she advanced laws making the access to contraception easier and legalizing abortion in the country. In 1979, she was elected as a member of the European Parliament and shortly thereafter, she was chosen as the body’s president.
“Veil reached the top European politics and served as a minister in French governments,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office stated. “Veil never forgot her Jewish roots, the command to remember those who perished and the duty to ensure that the events of the Holocaust never happen again.”