Themed homage for Holocaust survivor Veil

Simone Veil leaves the Institut de France with her son Jean in 2010

View Slideshow Simone Veil leaves the Institut de France with her son Jean in 2010. Christophe Ena AP

A Jewish survivor of a Nazi death camp at Ravensbruck with the prisoner number 78651 tattooed on her arm, was a fervent European and fighter for civil liberties, becoming the first directly elected president of the European parliament in 1979.

She was best known in France for legalizing abortion when she was health minister in 1974 under then-President Valery Giscard d'Estaing. She died on June 30 at the age of 89.

European flags around France were lowered to half-staff to honor a woman whose experience at Auschwitz-Birkenau made her a firm believer in European unification.

French Holocaust survivor and women's rights icon Simone Veil will be buried in the Pantheon mausoleum alongside many other great French figures, the French president announced on Wednesday during a service in homage to "France's most admired woman".

Macron praised her as inspiring "respect and fascination".

'She loved Europe, she always fought for it. because she knew in the heart of this European dream there were above all dreams of peace and freedom, ' he said.

She survived the concentration camps that claimed the lives of her mother, father and brother, and went on to become an indefatigable crusader for women's rights and European reconciliation.

"She knew that memory is here so that the unthinkable does not happen again", Macron said.

"Just as you leave us, Madam, please receive an huge thank you from the French people", he concluded in front of the coffin covered with a French flag, in the presence of hundreds of ordinary citizens and high-profile guests including former presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande.

The song was sung by a French army chorus in memory of the imprisonment of Veil and her family at Auschwitz.

Two petitions on change.org had urged the French government to bestow the rare honour on Veil, with one of the letters saying she "deserves the Pantheon". She follows two women who fought with the French Resistance during World War II, Germaine Tillion and Genevieve de Gaulle-Anthonioz, and Nobel Prize-winning chemist Marie Curie.

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