The brutal murder of an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor has been called an anti-Semitic hate crime by French authorities, who have arrested two suspects in the killing, The New York Times reported Monday.
Two suspects, both described as young men in their 20s, including one who had known Mireille Knoll “for a long time,” were charged with stabbing her to death. Knoll’s body was found Friday, partially burned, after the killers set her apartment on fire. The prosecutor’s office termed the motive behind the crime as “membership, real or supposed, of the victim of a particular religion,” pointing to anti-Semitism.
In the summer of 1942, Parisian Jews had been rounded up by French police working with the Nazis into a cycling stadium, Vélodrome d’Hiver. Nearly all the Jews who were brought to the stadium were later killed in Auschwitz. Knoll’s mother was able to escape with her as she had a Brazilian passport.
The murder of Knoll comes a year after the killing of Sarah Halimi, who was beaten and thrown out of a window by a neighbor, who shouted “Allahu Akbar.” French authorities came under criticism for failing to term Halimi’s murder and anti-Semitic act immediately.
In a Facebook post, Knoll’s granddaughter attributed the killing to a Muslim neighbor of her grandmother.
While the prosecutor’s office offered no details of the suspects, Francis Kalifat, the head of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France, said the main suspect was of North African origin.
“This makes one feel something absolutely terrible,” Kalifat said, describing the crime. “She escaped the anti-Semitism of the Nazis, but in the end her destiny followed her because she was killed because of anti-Semitism.”
France’s Interior Minister Gérard Collomb condemned the crime, saying that “to attack a Jew is to attack France, and the values that are the very basis of the nation.”
Other recent anti-Semitic murders include the killing of four in the Hypercacher supermarket in Paris in January 2015, and the 2012 murder of a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse.
[Photo: L’Express / YouTube]