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Simone Veil

Simone Veil, a former French politician, was born Simone Jacob in 1927. She was deported with her family to the concentration camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen, her mother, father and brother all dying in captivity. After the war she studied law and political science and became Minister for Health (1974–1979) in the government of Jacques Chirac, where she fought to legalise abortion. She was elected the first President of the European Parliament (1979 –1985) and later returned to domestic government as Minister for Social Affairs, a position she held until 1995. She was elected to the French Academy in November 2008.

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