Holocaust Survivor and French Feminist Politician Simone Veil Dies at 89

Veil said her it was her experiences in the Nazi concentration camps that made her a firm believer in the unification of Europe

French Health Minister Simone Veil speaking in a megaphone during a demonstration in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on March 25, 1980.
DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP

Simone Veil, a French survivor of Nazi death camps and prominent proponent of Europe's integration who spearheaded abortion rights as one of France's most prominent woman politicians, has died. She was 89.

One of France's most widely respected politicians on both sides of the political spectrum, Veil was a centrist who served as president of the European Parliament and French Cabinet minister.

Veil said her it was her experiences in the Nazi concentration camps that made her a firm believer in the unification of Europe. She was an avowed feminist, and France's abortion rights law is still known four decades later as the "Loi Veil."

The office of her son Jean Veil said Friday that Simone Veil died, without providing further information. No information was immediately available about memorial ceremonies.