Cassin Interred in the Pantheon

The body of Rene Cassin, a French Jew, resistance fighter and 1968 Nobel Peace Laureate, was interred in the Pantheon with full military honors Monday evening, more than 10 years after his death.

His casket joins those of 364 great names in French history, including Louis Pasteur and Jean Jaures, at ceremonies to be attended by President Francois Mitterrand, Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, and the Presidents of the Senate and National Assembly.

Cassin served as Gen. Charles de Gaulle’s wartime Minister of Justice and later drew up the International Declaration of the Rights of Man. He also headed the Alliance Israelite Universelle. He died in February 1976 at the age of 89.

Former President Valery Giscard d’Estaing signed the decree for his reinterment at the Pantheon. But it took a decade before it was implemented. The ceremony, broadcast live on French television, was attended by 3,000 guests from all over the world.

Cassin’s body was received with full military honors Sunday at the Les Invalides Chapel where Napoleon is buried. It lay in state until noon Monday. The official mourners were headed by Defense Minister Andre Giroud, who paid tribute to his military career.

Cassin volunteered for service in the first World War and fought in the battle of Verdun. During World War II he was one of the first of his countrymen to join de Gaulle’s Free French Forces in London.

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