A Life

Simone Veil / translated by Tamsin Black

‘[Simone Veil] is the best of what France can achieve’
Emmanuel Macron

‘This is a riveting memoir by an extraordinary woman. With exemplary forthrightness, Simone Veil charts her trajectory from her pre-war childhood in a secular Jewish family in Nice, through the misery of her year in Auschwitz and into the cut and thrust of French and European politics … This document of a life is also a compact history of post-war France.’
Lisa Appignanesi

‘Simone Veil went through history and made history’
Francois Hollande


Simone Veil was born Simone Jacob in 1927. This memoir describes a childhood of happiness and innocence in Nice that came to an abrupt end in 1944 when, at the age of 17, she was deported to Auschwitz. Her moth, father and brother all died in captivity. After the war she became Minister for Health in the government of Jacques Chirac where she fought to introduce a law to legalise abortion. Veil was later elected the first President of the European Parliament before returning to the French government as the Minister for Social Affairs. One of France’s most beloved political figures, Simone Veil was widely admired for her personal and political courage.

SIMONE VEIL was Minister for Health (1974-1979), during which she introduced the law to legalise abortion in 1975. She was elected first female President of the European Parliament (1979-1982) and Minister of State for Social Affairs (1993-1995). In 1998, aged 70, she received an honorary Damehood (DBE) from the British government for her contributions to humanity.

TAMSIN BLACK has worked as a literary and commercial translator for over a decade. Her book-length translations include memoirs, travel guides, and fiction, including two novels by Pascale Kramer: The Child and The Living. She lives in Bedfordshire, United Kingdom.

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