we looked through the collections of condolences in memory of Robert Badinter

Since his death on Friday, more than 2,000 people have paid written tribute to the former Minister of Justice within the premises of the Ministry of Justice, before the national tribute organized on Wednesday.

The style is fly-legged and the lines are slightly crooked. “Forgive me for these poorly written words. But I am very moved. Thank you on behalf of humanity.” The woman who spoke to Robert Badinter left neither name nor first name. This anonymous person, however, concluded her tribute with a completely personal signature: “I love you”. Before the national tribute chaired by Emmanuel Macron, Wednesday February 14, franceinfo was able to leaf through the collections of condolences made available to the general public within the walls of the Ministry of Justice after the death of the former Minister of Justice on Friday at the age of 95.

Inside the pen-blackened pages, on easily recognizes the brothers and sisters of the great lawyer : they call it “master”, even “Dear Master”. Others mention their role as elected representatives of the Republic before presenting their “sincere condolences” to the relatives of This “unforgettable character”. “For too long, I’ve been dreading this day… And then, the light went out. So thank you”, scribbled a certain “CP”

Over the course of the seven collections, which will then be given to his family, it is in reality all of Robert Badinter’s fights that parade. “Jeannette” wants to thank him for his incessant fight against anti-Semitism. “In the afterlife, watch over us, because bad History returns”, she writes. Sign : “A daughter of deportees”. On the next page, someone has drawn a little Star of David in pen. blue.

Further on, an anonymous person says he came across the illustrious deceased twice. “We discussed the deportation of my family members in convoy 76 to Auschwitz-Birkenau.” An uncle of the former Minister of Justice was himself deported and killed in this extermination camp, while his father was assassinated in Sobibor, in what is now Poland.

There are also less painful personal memories. “Thanks to your activism, I obtained my honors in the philosophy baccalaureate”, thanks a man in careful calligraphy. We also smile at reading Cyrielle, 12 years old, who wants to salute this “big man” who managed to “to appease death”, she writes in a touching neologism.

On a full page, Maryvonne recounts that she was in final year on September 18, 1981, when the National Assembly adopted, by 363 votes to 117, the bill on the abolition of the death penalty. “Our philosophy teacher came into class very moved and announced to us: ‘It’s an extraordinary day, our country is finally becoming civilized!’ I’ll never forget”.

Jacques, a socialist activist, still sees himself in his parents’ kitchen, “the TV on, the sound crackling”. “I was 8 years old, I didn’t know why it was important, until my parents started crying. We talked about it again after Mr. Badinter’s death. And this time, it was me who explained to my children what this abolition changed.”

Prolonged access in the face of crowds

To be sure not to forget anything, Maïté Pottier preferred to prepare a draft. On a piece of paper, the former professor, now 84 years old, scribbled the following words: “Thank you for your righteousness and your positions. With each of your interventions, I drank in your words. Your name will remain engraved in my memory and also in History.” In the queue, the one who has, in the past, paid tribute to Simone Veil, Claude Nougaro and Jacques Higelin, still hesitates: “I would add this sentence: ‘You have entered my own Pantheon.'”

“As soon as I saw Mr. Badinter on a show, I inevitably stopped what I was doing. I had to listen to him.”

Maïté Pottier, who came to pay tribute to the former minister

at franceinfo

Just behind, Marie-France is also refining the “little word” which she wishes to address to the great architect of the abolition of the death penalty in France. On one of the four collections placed on the table, she wishes to highlight “pugnacity”, “faith for human rights and justice” of the former minister.

Since Friday, more than 2,000 people have already added their signature to the collections, franceinfo learned. “This weekend, we waited up to three hours, and all that in the rain. It was worse than for Heritage Days”compares an agent stationed in front of the ministry, located Place Vendôme in Paris. “Saturday morning, the first person arrived at 6:15 a.m., three hours before the doors opened. It was crazy.” “We offered some people to leave us a piece of paper and we promised to slip it into the booklets. But it wasn’t ideal”recognizes one of his colleagues. “People really wanted to write it themselves.”

The face of Robert Badinter displayed at the entrance to the Ministry of Justice, Place Vendôme in Paris, February 12, 2024. (RAPHAEL GODET / FRANCEINFO)

As a matter of urgency, the ministry’s teams obtained additional booklets when Eric Dupond-Moretti himself decided to extend access to the collections by two days, which remained open Monday and Tuesday, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. In a video that the current Minister of Justice posted onthe queue almost goes around Place Vendôme. uA digital collection of condolences was also put online on the ministry’s website: Tuesday, 500 people had sent a note.

Failed on Sunday evening because he arrived too late, Raymond Billaud was able to try his luck again on Monday. “My place is here because, as a homosexual, I owe a lot to Mr. Badinter, testifies, moved, the sixty-year-old. By decriminalizing homosexuality in 1982, he changed my life. At least he allowed us to be tolerated. I was 22 at the time, and I no longer needed to hide. Everything is not yet perfect today, but I don’t know if everyone realizes the progress that this represents.” Before leaving the collection room, he took the liberty of taking a photo of his short tribute. “I’m going to frame it and give it to my parents. For the nod to history.”

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