Tuesday, 22 November 2011

At the road’s end: Danielle Mitterrand (1924-2011), activist and former first lady of France

It has been announced that Danielle Mitterrand, activist, veteran of the French resistance and the country’s former first lady, died today at the age of 87.
Born Danielle Émilienne Isabelle Gouze in Verdun on 29 October 1924, she joined the French resistance movement as a nurse at the age of seventeen. She met the resistance fighter François Mitterrand while helping him to escape, fell in love and married him in 1944. The couple had three sons.
Danielle Mitterrand was noted for her involvement in a wide range of issues, including supporting the Tibetans and the Kurds, water ressources, slavery, the death penalty and, more recently, anti-globalisation. Her activism was not always welcomed by the Quai d’Orsay.
In 1981 her husband was elected President of France, in which role he served until 1995. He died from cancer the following year and many will remember the image of his widow and their sons standing shoulder to shoulder with his mistress and their daughter at his funeral.

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