A Holocaust survivor, author of the French abortion act and strongly pro-European, Simone Veil died on 30 June 2017, at the age of 89. That day, French political life lost one of its greatest, most illustrious figures. On 1 July 2018, Simone Veil was the fifth woman to enter the Pantheon... >> Read the full article at: www.gouvernement.fr
“Our heritage is there, in your hands, in your thoughts and your hearts, in your intelligence and your sensibility.”*
* Extract from Simone Veil’s 2010 speech >> Resource via www.ambassadeurs-memoire-shoah.org
“There are now no more than a handful of Auschwitz survivors left. Soon, our remembrance will rely only on our families, on the State, and on the institutions that have made it their mission, in particular those responsible for sites like the one you are at today. It will also be a source of inspiration for artists and authors, like an object that escapes us, for better or for worse. Above all, our remembrance must be integrated and reconciled with the teaching of history in schools, making pupils and teachers essential intermediaries in the important process of transmission.
It will be up to you to see that our memory lives on, to pass on our words and the names of our dead comrades; and our terrible experience, too, of barbarity taken to its extreme, whereby the most primary human instincts were pandered to as the workings of a cruel modernity.
Humanity is a fragile veneer, but that veneer exists. By talking about this other world of camps and torment into which the Jews were thrust, we are telling you of this abomination, but we are also bearing witness to the reasons for not giving up hope. Firstly, for some of us, there were those who helped us during the war, through at times simple, at times perilous actions that contributed to our survival. There was camaraderie among prisoners, which, although not systematic, had such a beneficial effect. Then, for that tiny minority who returned to France in 1945, life was intensified, resumed with its joys and its sorrows.
If only our laughter would resonate with you like our immense sadness.
Our heritage is there, in your hands, in your thoughts and your hearts, in your intelligence and your sensibility.
It is for you to ensure that vigilance is not an empty word, an appeal echoing in the void of numbed consciences. The Holocaust may have been a unique phenomenon in human history, but the poison of racism, antisemitism, the rejection of ‘strangers' and hate are not the preserve of any one period, culture or people. They are a daily threat, at different levels and in varying ways, everywhere and always, last century and in this new one. That world is yours. It is built on the ashes of Auschwitz.
Yet your responsibility is not to give in to misguided and confused ideas. Suffering is intolerable; but not all situations are the same. Be sure to show discernment, as time distances us ever further from these events, making their trivialisation a perhaps even greater menace than denial. Teaching about the Holocaust is not a vaccine against antisemitism or totalitarian abuses, but it can help to forge the consciences of each and every one of you. It should make you think about the mechanisms and consequences of this dramatic story. Our testimony exists as an appeal to you to embody and defend democratic values, rooted in absolute respect for human dignity, that are our most precious legacy to you, the youth of the 21st century.”
The story of an exceptional life based on Simone Veil’s private archives. Five years before she died, Simone Veil gave all the files, official documents, notes she had written, letters she had received – all the “papers” she had patiently kept throughout her lifetime – to the Archives Nationales. “Simone Veil, mémoire d’une immortelle” is a moving historical portrait of a woman whose uprightness, open-mindedness and acute sense of the meaning of the State and justice make her an example to many. Directed by Pierre Bonte-Joseph A Public Sénat production.