(13 July 1927 - . ) One of four children in a Jewish family from Nice (France), Simon Veil was only 17 years old when she and her family were prisoners of the Nazi’s at Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen; her mother, father, and brother all died in captivity. This tragic experience gave her the courage to accomplish anything that she chooses to do. She returned in France in 1945 and took up study of law and political science to qualify as a judge in 1956. She entered the Ministry of Justice to become involved in a number of humanitarian and women’s issues in 1969. President Giscard d'Estaing launched her political career by making her Minister of Health in 1974. As feminist, and as the first woman full Minister of the Fifth Republic, she pushed forward the two following notable laws: (december 1974) the law opening access to contraception and to information about birth control, and (january 1975) the law legalizing abortion, her hardest political fight and the start of an enduring popularity –and of venomous attacks against her. Mme Veil also undertook to reform or tackle other health issues and the reform of social security. A popular but not populist minister, she noted that there is nothing more boring than an election meeting. She was a campaigner for women’s issues and for the “downtrodden in society” as well as a determined “centrist” moderate. In 1979, she was the first woman elected President of the European Parliament since its creation. In 1998, she was appointed to the Constitutional Council of France. In 2008, Veil became a member of the Académie Française (the forty “Immortels”), the sixth woman ever to do so. On her sword, given to her as to every other immortal, is engraved her Auschwitz number (number 78651), the motto of the French Republic (liberté, égalité, fraternité) and the motto of the European Union (Unis dans la diversité).