ILLUSTRATED – This Tuesday, Joséphine Baker will enter the Pantheon. Only five other “Great Women” already rest in this high place of memory of the Nation.
MG | TF1 report S.PINATEL, F.DER STEPANIAN –
A new figure in the Pantheon. Deceased in 1975, the Franco-American artist Joséphine Baker, a prominent figure in the Resistance and the anti-racist fight, will enter it this Tuesday, November 30, during a ceremony chaired by Emmanuel Macron.
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Joséphine Baker at the Pantheon
Among the 80 people already “pantheonized” are politicians, writers, scientists, some religious and many soldiers … and only five women. Powerful, resistant or avant-garde, they have marked the history of France and the whole world.
Nicknamed “the unknown woman of the Panthéon”, Sophie Berthelot entered the in the capacity of wife of the renowned Marcellin Berthelot. Considered a genius of science, the chemist notably carried out the first synthesis of alcohol. He had asked, when he died, not to be separated from his wife. A request accepted by the President of the Republic at the time, Armand Fallières, one day in April 1907.
It took almost a further century for a woman to be distinguished for her merits alone. In 1995, the physicist Marie Curie, the only woman in the world twice Nobel Prize – in chemistry and in physics – obtained her place at the heart of the emblematic monument. Like a nod to history, her husband Pierre – himself a brilliant physicist – rests at her side in the temple of the fatherland.
Emblematic figure of the French resistance during the Second World War, Germaine Tillion was posthumously pantheonized in 2015.
Entering resistance in 1940, it allowed numerous evacuations in the free zone. Arrested in 1942 by the German counter-espionage service, she was first imprisoned before being deported to the Ravensbrück camp. During her disastrous stay, she applied herself to dissecting the concentration camp system, its ins and outs. She was then released at the end of the conflict, in February 1945. In the process, this brilliant woman of letters and ethnologist received the Pulitzer Prize for her heroic acts.
Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz
Another renowned French resistance fighter, General de Gaulle’s niece was inducted into the Pantheon in 2015, alongside Germaine Tillion, whom she attended during her deportation to the Ravensbrück camp.
Returning from hell after the war, she worked for a time at the Ministry of Culture with André Malraux. At the end of 1958, she found a new vocation after meeting Father Joseph Wresinski, creator of the “Aid to any distress” movement, which would become ATD Quart-Monde. In 1964, she took the head of the association.
She is the first woman to have been decorated with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor.
Simone Veil, who entered the Pantheon in 2018, has been a tireless fighter for human rights. A survivor of the hell of Auschwitz, she has, throughout her life, advocated reconciliation between nations despite the gaping scars left by the Second World War. Entering politics in the 1970s, this fervent defender of women’s rights had in 1975 – despite numerous threats of intimidation – the law on voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion), decriminalizing abortion.
She then continued her career in the European Parliament, of which she held the position of president from 1979 to 1982, then within the Constitutional Council.
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The academician was also president of the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah (2001-2007).
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VIDEO – Joséphine Baker at the Panthéon: which (rare) women have already entered?