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Danielle Mitterrand
Born Danielle Émilienne Isabelle Gouze
(1924-10-29)29 October 1924
Verdun, Meuse
Died 22 November 2011(2011-11-22) (aged 87)
Paris, Île-de-France
Spouse(s) François Mitterrand
Children Pascal Mitterrand (1945–1945)
Jean-Christophe Mitterrand (b. 1946)
Gilbert Mitterrand (b. 1949)

Danielle Mitterrand (born Danielle Émilienne Isabelle Gouze; 29 October 1924 – 22 November 2011) was the wife of French President François Mitterrand, and president of the foundation France Libertés Fondation Danielle Mitterrand.[1]


When she was seventeen years old, her family (her parents were teachers) aided the French Resistance and helped lodge men of the Maquis (French Resistance), and she became a liaison officer in the Resistance. She met François Mitterrand there, and married him three months after the Liberation, on 28 October 1944.[1]

She created the France-Libertés Foundation in 1986, when she was First Lady, with the fusion of three smaller associations which had been established in 1981.[1] In 1996 Madame Mitterrand was one of the winners of the North–South Prize.[2]

Danielle Mitterrand had three sons: Pascal (who died in childhood), Jean-Christophe and Gilbert Mitterrand.[1]


Mrs. Mitterrand was a longtime supporter of Cuba and its Marxist-Leninist government.[3] However, during Fidel Castro's 1995 visit to France, she also helped secure the release of imprisoned Cuban dissident Yndamiro Restano Díaz, who was reportedly freed at her request.[4][5]

She also supported the Sandinistas when her late husband gave them military aid in their war against US-backed forces in Nicaragua.[6] She was very critical with respect to Turkey, opposing its accession to the European Union and supportive of the Kurdistan independence movement.[7] She voiced her views in favour of Sahrawi separatists,[8] Subcomandante Marcos,[9] and the Tibetan people,[10] among others.

Even as First Lady, she spoke up against human rights violations, including in countries with which the French government was seeking to maintain good relations; she earned the ire both of the Chinese government and of King Hassan II of Morocco, in particular. Her France-Libertés Foundation provided financial support to local human rights initiatives abroad, and also financed access to medicine and education in poor countries.[1]

She supported a "no" vote in the 2005 French referendum on the European Constitution: "I denounce the power of the economy over people, a system that turns individuals into elements in an economic equation, does not respect the poor and excludes everyone that does not live up to the principle of profitability." [11]


  • These men are first our brothers (Ces hommes sont avant tout nos frères), Ramsay, 1996, on the Indians of Chiapas
  • Torture in Tunisia: Committee for freedom and human rights in Tunisia (La torture en Tunisie : Comité pour le respect des libertés et des droits de l’homme en Tunisie), Le temps des cerises, 2000


Foreign honours

  •  Netherlands : Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown (1991)[12]
  •  Sweden : Commander Grand Cross of the Order of the Polar Star (11 May 1984)[13]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Danielle Mitterrand, les combats d'une militante", Le Monde, 22 November 2011
  2. "The North South Prize of Lisbon". North-South Centre. Council of Europe. Archived from the original on 2008-02-15. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  3. [1][dead link]
  4. "World News Briefs;Havana Releases A Second Dissident". The New York Times. 2 June 1995. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  5. Roberto Fabricio (15 October 1995). "Switch Hitting". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  6. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". [dead link]
  7. "Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-03-10". 1999-03-10. Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  8. "afrol News - Systematic maltreatments revealed in Saharawi camps". Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  9. Smith, David (11 March 2001). "Mexico waits for the masked crusader". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  10. "Danielle Mitterrand, Hugh Richardson and Richard Blum to Receive ICT's Light of Truth Awards | International Campaign for Tibet". 1999-10-04. Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  11. Francois Mitterrand's Widow Says, "I Will Vote No" Spiegel-Interview with Danielle Mitterrand, 05/23/2005
  12. Volks krant, State visit of Netherlands in France (Mitterrand), 1991, Group Photo
  13. Photo of the state in Sweden, Danielle Mitterrand : Polar Star

External links

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