Simone Veil, née Jacob, was born to Jewish family in Nice, France, the youngest of four children. She completed her baccalauréat to qualify for university study in March 1944. Only a few days later, she was rounded up by German authorities and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau and then to Bergen-Belsen with her sister Madeleine and their mother Yvonne. Their mother died but the two sisters survived to be liberated. After the war, Simone resumed her education, studying law and political science at the prestigious Institut d'études politiques de Paris. In 1946, she married Antoine Veil, a businessman with whom she had three sons. As a lawyer, she became prominent in public life, working in the Ministry of Justice and drafting legislation to promote the rights of women and the disadvantaged. In 1974, she was named Minister of Health by French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, a position she held for five years, and championed the 1975 law that legalized abortion. In 1979, she was the first woman to be chosen president of the European Parliament. She was the recipient of the Légion d'honneur and many other awards. She published her autobiography, Une vie, in 2009.