"With age, I have become more and more activist of the cause of women", write to you ...
Simone Veil. - I always took care of it ... But my popularity remains primarily related to the text of law on abortion voted in 1974. At the time, I wondered if men were ultimately more traumatized by contraception than by abortion. It's here contraception who devotes women's freedom and gives them control over their bodies. An idea then unbearable for men. In addition, around 1968-1969, political and economic leaders sought to encourage women to work. Like to bring in immigrant workers. I remember saying, "Basically, women and immigrants are the same. We use them when we need them, we send them back when we do not want them anymore. "I am in favor of affirmative action measures, because at least they are moving things forward. In the suburbs, it can be seen. For women, in some cases, it seems to me as desirable.

You say that what you got in life, you got it precisely because you are a woman ...
Simone Veil. - I always felt like that: I am the alibi woman. That's also why I did a lot of things. When a project came, people would say, "Ah ... and if we asked her." I entered the government of Jacques Chirac in 1974, because the new president, Giscard d'Estaing, had promised the French that he would appoint women. When I chaired the European Parliament, it was also the idea, although I believe that Giscard especially saw a strong symbol in the fact that I had been deported. I owe something to women. I was a bit of an exception.

In Auschwitz too, do you think that being a woman saved you?

Simone Veil. - Yes, although ... at the camp, it was something else. I arrived there in full health, at 16 years old. Fifteen days before, I was in Nice. Most of those who came to Auschwitz stayed in ghettos for a very long time, or else were detained elsewhere ... One day, a woman - she was an architect - had managed to negotiate two dresses, she gave me one. A dress, it changed things. And then, I had the chance to be in a convoy where I had not shaved my hair. It is probably for this reason that the head of the camp, a brutal Polish woman with the other deportees, has designated me to work in another less hard camp, with my mother and my sister ...

Your book is crossed by the character of your mother. In a beautiful passage, it seems that at 80 years it is you, his child, who became his protectress. Deborah, do you ever want to protect your grandmother more than she protects you?
Deborah Veil. - I still feel very protected, I have not seen anything in the world! I'm so lucky.
Simone Veil. - What's more, your mother does not need to be protected. Me, at 6, I already protected mine. I was fighting with my father, who was not as he should have been with her. At the camp, she let herself be stolen if she was not protected. In January 1945, during the march of death, in the snow, the cold, we walked seventy kilometers, how could she bear it in its state ... People clung to her. I told them, "No. You walk or you do not walk, but you do not bring mom into death. "And I pushed them away (the Nazis flee the advance of the Russians, bringing with them some forty thousand deportees by - 30C °, Edited.).

You speak of a maternal love that will give you immense strength ...
Simone Veil. - By having her image in her head every day, the memory of what she was, yes. My deportation comrades have an exceptional memory of mother, of the dignity she had.

Are you ready to share all this now with readers, Deborah?
Deborah Veil. - Yes, all the better! Finally ! She alone could write the story of her life!
Simone Veil. - I'm thinking about the dedication to write on the book.
Deborah Veil. - Have you thought about it already? (Silence.)

You evoke your admiration for beings as different as Hillary Clinton, Anwar el-Sadat, Nicolas Sarkozy and Nelson Mandela. What is the common point between them and you?
Simone Veil. - These are people who act. Who always want to do more, to fight. They are not conventional. Hillary Clinton is very impressive because of her intelligence, her way of expressing herself ... Sadat had a lot of courage, he paid for it by being murdered. There are not many wise men like him. What Nelson Mandela and Frederik De Klerk have achieved is great: to achieve peace through a principle of unity-reconciliation. I think we should be more inspired. Always think that there may be a way out somewhere.

Is that also the spirit of protest?
Simone Veil. - But yes of course ! The challenge is to question: are you sure there is nothing else? that there is no better? What is contested are less the main principles than the everyday that does not work.

Fighting that your grandmother has done, is there one you would like to pursue, Deborah?
Deborah Veil. - Choose, you can not ask me that! But what fight do I feel closest to ... I feel very concerned about the Holocaust. And then by womens rights. I also feel very European.
Simone Veil.- You see, in relation to the Prison Service, I insist on something that is related to the Holocaust: we do not have the right to humiliate people. Even in prison. The conditions in which people are detained today are unacceptable.

At the Holocaust Memorial Foundation, after you, David de Rothschild, born in 1942, took up the torch. How can this memory, in the hands of a generation that has not been touched directly in its flesh, remain so alive?
Deborah Veil. - But you, grandmother, you keep looking closely, right?
Simone Veil. - No. Because I have a principle: when we left, we left. We are at a turning point. There are hardly any survivors left. It was necessary to pass the relay, there is a lot to do. Basically, my life, it is still ... There is certainly the past, which I think a lot. But deep down, I am an optimist.

Optimistic, your book is, resolutely!
Simone Veil. - Yes. Even in horrible circumstances, I met fraternity.
Deborah Veil. - I am proud, hyperfier. And I think you're doing very, very young. It is surely having been so busy, so long. I am very proud of you.
Simone Veil. - Your grandfather is a relentless, your father is also like that. Then you'll be like that, darling. It is projects that must be devoted to energy.

(1) She was a member of the Constitutional Council.

In video, the speech of Simone Veil at the National Assembly