On March 23rd, 85-year-old Mireille Knoll, who survived the Holocaust, was murdered in her Paris home. And now, French police are investigating Knoll’s death as an anti-Semitic attack.
Knoll’s body was found in her apartment after attackers stabbed her 11 times and tried to light her home on fire. Two suspects have been arrested in the case of her murder, and a French judicial source told CNN that they had been indicted for homicide motivated by “the true or supposed religion of the victim,” along with charges of theft and damaging property. In other words, the suspects have been charged with committing a hate crime against Knoll.
In a statement to the New York Times, Francis Kalifat, the head of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France, compared the circumstances of Knoll’s death to the hatred of the Nazis.
Meyer Habib, a member of the French Parliament, wrote on Facebook that Knoll and her mother narrowly managed to evade being sent to a concentration camp in 1942 due to her mother’s Brazilian passport. More than 13,000 other Jewish people were sent to concentration camps as a result of the same mass detention that Knoll escaped, and fewer than 100 people survived the camps.
According to Reuters, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted on March 26th that he was committed to fighting anti-Semitism.
NBC reported that attacks against the Jewish community in France increased by 26 percent in 2017, and Knoll’s murder has led politicians and activists to call for reform. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has organized a silent march to be held in memory of Knoll on March 28th.
We are saddened and infuriated to learn of this latest instance of hatred against the Jewish community. Our hearts go out to Knoll’s loved ones during this difficult time.