In l979, she was the first woman to be elected president of the European Parliament, serving in that position until l982 and as a European parliamentary member until l993. She continued her involvement in politics, with a brief ministerial term in another administration, and always reminded future generations of the Shoah, serving as president of the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah. She knew her mother had died of typhus in the “death march,” but only discovered how her father and brother had been taken years later. In her autobiography, entitled simply “A Life” (2007), she noted how people couldn’t understand it, citing an official who, after seeing how a natural disaster had harmed the children before him, merely stated that this must bring back memories of her own experience, without recognizing the enormity of the genocidal attacks.
Elected as one of six women — and the rare political figure — among the 40 “Immortals” of the French Academy, founded in 1635, Madame Veil had her Auschwitz number, which she always retained on her arm, as one of the symbols of her new position. French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a eulogy citing the “three dimensions” of Simone Veil: memory of the Shoah, liberation of women, and committed European.
President Macron announced that Veil, who has been repeatedly voted as one of the most admired people in France, will be buried in the Panthéon. She is the fifth woman to be buried in the historic mausoleum in Paris. The other four women include: scientist Marie Curie, French Resistance fighters Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz and Germaine Tillion, and Sophie Berthelot. Famed writers and philosopher Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are among the men buried in the Panthéon.