Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Pantheon Resistance

At the Pantheon last week two men and two women, were honored for their roles in fighting the Nazi occupation during World War Two. They joined the 'Greats' of France' in a reburial ceremony in the Pantheon.

Last year, President Francois Hollande promised that they would receive the honor of being buried among the "national heroes" entombed in the Pantheon mausoleum.
Germaine Tillion, Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz, Jean Zay and Pierre Brossolette – "embodied the values of France during their time on earth", Hollande said. "I wanted the spirit of the Resistance to be celebrated," he added.

A procession made up of family members, former Resistance fighters, students and school pupils accompanied the coffins into the Pantheon. Until now only two women were buried there: Nobel prize-winning scientist Marie Curie
 and Sophie Berthelot, the wife of chemist Marcellin Berthelot. Two women previously out of hundreds of men including: Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean Moulin, Louis Braille, Jean Jaurès and Toussaint L'Overture the slave who freed Haiti among many others.  

The move to include two women resistance fighters followed protests from feminist groups and a complaint from an official body for France's monuments urged the president to fix what it called a "wide gender imbalance" at the almost exclusively male-dominated Pantheon.

But while the coffins of the men, Jean Zay and Pierre Brossolette will be laid to rest alongside some of the country's most famed writers, artists and scientists only soil from the graves of the two women will be buried in a symbolic move.

It comes after the families of De Gaulle-Anthonioz and Tillion objected to having their bodies removed from the family graves where they currently lie.

Tillion, an ethnologist who died aged 100, was a founding member of a famed Resistance cell of intellectuals and academics. She was sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp for women, escaped and eventually wrote an insightful account of her time there.

De Gaulle-Anthonioz, a niece of General Charles de Gaulle, was another Resistance member who was sent to Ravensbruck and also wrote a memoir of that time.

Cara - Tuesday

PS at our Bay Area Book Festival this weekend I'm moderating a Nordic Noir panel with none other than our own YRSA - can't wait to see her and instead of Oli she's bringing her 18 yr old daughter.


  1. How wonderful that at last these four heroes of the Resistance are being honoured. And what a shame that it has taken so long to do so.

  2. I love the Pantheon. A fitting place for France to start moving forward on this subject. Speaking of moving, if I didn't have to be on Santorini this weekend I'd be off to see you and Yrsa at Bay Area Book Festival. It will be fantastic!

  3. Vive La Resistance! I have an Italian friend whose father is a still-living fighter from the Tuscan Risorgimento. One day I will write a blog about him!

    Give Yrsa BIG HUGS from all of us. Take pictures.