Filmmaker Loridan-Ivens, Auschwitz companion of Simone Veil, dies

Paris (AFP) –


French writer and filmmaker Marceline Loridan-Ivens, a lifelong friend of Simone Veil after the pair met in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp, died Tuesday aged 90, the late French minister's son Jean Veil told AFP.

"She was mother's deportation comrade," said Jean Veil, who was also the Loridan-Ivens' family lawyer.

Loridan-Ivens was taken to the Nazi camp when she was just 15.

"That terribly difficult episode of their lives made them unwavering friends" with a relationship which was "almost family", he added.

It was on May 10, 1945, three days after Germany officially surrendered to the Allies, that Loridan-Ivens saw her first Russian soldier, approaching the camp on a scooter waving a red flag.

She then spent the rest of her life denouncing injustice and violence.

French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux on Twitter described Loridan-Ivens as "a lesson in life, to ponder and perpetuate".

Women's rights icon and former health minister Simone Veil died last year aged 89.

Loridan-Ivens put her autobiographical reminisces on screen in her 2003 film "Birch-Tree Meadow", the title a literal translation of "Birkenau".

Her second husband, Dutch documentary filmmaker Henri Anton 'Joris' Ivens, died in 1989.