February 21, 2014 / 7:09 PM / 5 years ago

Two Frenchwomen gain rare accolade of Pantheon burial

PARIS (Reuters) - Two men and two women who fought for the French Resistance in World War Two will join France’s great citizens interred in the Pantheon in Paris next year, President Francois Hollande announced on Friday.

At a ceremony at Fort Mont-Valerien outside Paris, where a firing squad executed 22 resistance fighters and three high school students in 1944, Hollande said the four “embodied the values of France when she was low”.

Germaine Tillion and Genevieve de Gaulle-Anthonioz will join only two other women to be buried in the domed mausoleum on the Left Bank - Marie Curie and Sophie Berthelot, who refused to be buried separately from her chemist husband Marcellin Berthelot.

The Pantheon holds the bones of 74 illustrious French people including Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo and Jean Jaures.

Results of an online poll soliciting ideas for who should be buried in the Pantheon were submitted to Hollande last year after he suggested the gender imbalance there should be fixed.

Both Tillion and de Gaulle-Anthonioz, niece of former President Charles de Gaulle, were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany for their role in the Resistance, but survived.

The two men to be inducted at the Pantheon are Pierre Brossolette and Jean Zay.

Reporting By Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Alistair Lyon

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