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France

De Gaulle niece to receive Panthéon honour

© Photo: AFP

Video by Kalvin NG

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-02-21

The remains of four French World War II heroes, including those of two women, are to be moved to the famous Panthéon mausoleum in Paris, President François Hollande announced Friday.

Among them will be Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz (pictured), niece of former president and World War II hero Charles de Gaulle and a key figure in the French Resistance.

De Gaulle-Anthonioz joined the Resistance shortly after the Nazi occupation of France in 1940. She was arrested in 1943 and spent the rest of the war in a German concentration camp.

She died in 2002 at the age of 81.

Germaine Tillion, another female resistance leader, will also be interred at the Panthéon, Hollande announced.

Tillion became one of the leading commanders of the French Resistance in Paris, before being arrested and sent to the same camp as de Gaulle-Anthonioz.

Pierre Brossolette, also a key figure in the French Resistance, and Jean Zay, a politician who was assassinated in 1944 by Vichy France’s Nazi-allied paramilitary forces, will join them in the Panthéon, said the French President.

Honouring ‘great women’ too

De Gaulle-Anthonioz and Germaine Tillion’s interment at the Paris landmark, reserved for the remains of the country’s most treasured national figures and the resting place of the likes of Voltaire, Rousseau and Victor Hugo, will bring the total number of women there to four, alongside 71 men.

The lack of women buried at the Panthéon has recently been the subject of debate in France.

Last year, a group of around one hundred women and a dozen men gathered outside the building to demonstrate in favour of more women being “Pantheonised”. (link to pilgrim’s page here)

Currently, scientist Marie Curie is the only woman to be buried at the Panthéon on her own merit, while Sophie Berthelot was also interred there as the wife of chemist and politician Marcellin Berthelot.

Feminists have also long complained about the gold lettering on the façade of the building itself, which reads “To its great men, a grateful fatherland,” which they say should be altered to add “and women”.

Date created : 2014-02-21

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