Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel issued the following statement today (30 June) on the death of French politician Simone Veil:
I was saddened to learn of the death of Simone Veil. Simone Veil was a bastion of Franco‑German friendship. Her life was a symbol of the reconciliation between the French and Germans after the Second World War and an example for us all. Franco‑German friendship would not have been possible without courageous and generous people such as Simone Veil.
Although she was arrested by the Gestapo in 1944, separated from her family and sent to a concentration camp, she forgave the Germans and fought for European integration.
She made ground‑breaking achievements in women’s rights in France. She was often the first of her kind: the first female President of the European Parliament; one of the first female ministers in the French Government, and the first woman to be awarded the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen. She was passionate about European integration. As the first female President of the European Parliament, she stood up resolutely for the rights of the first freely and directly elected representation of all the peoples of Europe united in the European Community.
I share the grief of my French friends and have the utmost respect for the life lived by Simone Veil.