The prestigious Academie Francaise, which guards the French language, voted on Thursday to accept Holocaust survivor and former politician Simone Veil as one of its 40 members. The 81-year-old Veil, who survived Auschwitz death camp and is among the most popular personalities in France, thus joins the ranks of the “immortals,” as members of the academy are known. The term “Immortal” was adopted in anaology to the Persian Immortal Guards created by Persian King Cyrus The Great ( but reinforced into an elite force under his successor King Darius The Great) whose army of 10 000 Immortal Guards were deemed invincible because whenever one was killed in battle he was immediately replaced by a new fresh guard, thus keeping the unit of 10 000 guards intact.
President Nicolas Sarkozy praised Veil for her “perpetual courage” after the vote Thursday. She received 22 of the 29 valid ballots. She is the 6th women to be elected in this prestigious male dominated institution since it’s inception by Cardinal Richelieu in 1635 under the reign of King Louis XIII. She succeeds to Pierre Mesmer in the seat first occupied by French playright Jean Racine (1639 – 1699)
Speeches by Academician Jean D’Ormesson and Simon Veil upon her reception at the French Academy:
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In a Green Suite specifically designed for her by Karl Lagarsfeld and a sword designed by sculpture Ivan Theimer with the inscription “78 651” a reminder of her serial number tatooed on her arm as a surviving prisoner of the Nazi Extermination camp of d’Auschwitz-Birkenau in German Occupied Poland. He mother died of typhus during their detention and her brother and father were deported to a concentration camp in Lithuania never to return … Simin Veil 17 at the time survived along with her two sisters from the dreadful experience that cost the lives of 6 Million Jews across Europe and known as the Shoah or Holocaust in the dark pages of human history.
Simone Veil, destin courage:
Part I: (About her Concentration Camp Experience)
Part II: (About Her Concentration Camp Experience)
Simone Veil Returns to Auschwitz in 2006 for the First time since the liberation of the Camp from which she survived:
But Simone Veil will probably be best remembered as the women who was able to pushed forward the free abortion laws and free contraception laws in France against all odds and violent resistance in the early years of the struggle for female emancipation in France’s Post 68 years.
From 1974 to 1979 she was Minister of Health in the governments of prime ministers Jacques Chirac and Raymond Barre. She pushed forward the following notable laws: