In Paris, vandals spoil a graffiti portrait of a former prisoner of the Weil camps

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In Paris, vandals partially painted over graffiti depicting a former Nazi prisoner, Simone Veil. On Wednesday, July 29, the author of the portrait, the artist Christian Gemi, acting under the pseudonym C215, announced this on his Twitter.

The graffiti, created in 2018, is located on rue d’Ulmes in the fifth arrondissement of the French capital, near the Pantheon, where Weill is buried. In the afternoon, local residents discovered that the face in the portrait was painted over with white paint. The artist promised to restore the work and wondered “what torments the society, which destroys symbols”.

By the evening, a photo of the corrected graffiti appeared on Twitter of Gemi, who is called “French Banksy”. The author wrote that the portrait was restored, and he will definitely do so every time “someone tries to erase the memory”.

This is not the first time vandals have attempted to spoil Weil’s work in Paris. So, in February 2019, in the 13th arrondissement of the French capital, unknown persons drew a swastika on Weill’s portrait on the wall of one of the buildings.

Simone Weil was born on July 13, 1927. In March 1944, when she was 16, Weil was arrested by the Gestapo in Nice and passed through Auschwitz and other extermination camps. Only Simone Veil and her sister managed to survive from the whole family.

Weil served as Minister of Health under Presidents Valerie Giscard d’Estaing and François Mitterrand and was an active advocate for women’s rights. In 1979, in the first direct elections, she was elected to the European Parliament, then became its chairman. In 2008 she was admitted to the French Academy. Academician Weil’s sword was engraved with her concentration camp prisoner number.

Simone Veil died on June 30, 2017, just two weeks before her 90th birthday. In July 2018, the remains of a former Nazi prisoner were transferred to the Parisian Pantheon.

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