World News

French Holocaust survivor, 85, dies in 'antisemitic attack'

French Holocaust survivor, 85, dies in 'antisemitic attack'

Two men arrested over the murder of a Holocaust-era survivor who was repeatedly stabbed in her Paris home are suspected of killing her because she was Jewish, a judicial source said on Tuesday.

"All the necessary means will be mobilized so that we will figure out the motivations of the authors of this barbaric act, which reminds us of the darkest hours of our history", Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said, CNN reported. The flat was then set ablaze in an apparent attempt to cover up the murder.

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.

Police officers said Knoll had called police officers before and complained that the neighbor threatened to kill her. "Apparently, my mother knew him very well and considered him a son", the victim's son told Agence France Presse.

Habin and many others have compared the murder to last year's killing of 66-year-old Jewish woman Dr. Sarah Halimi who was beaten and thrown off a balcony to her death by a radical Islamic extremist migrant named Kada Traore.

The French newspaper Le Monde reported that the first suspect is 27 years old, and one of Knoll's neighbors who used to visit her on a regular basis.

On Sunday, investigators said they were "not excluding any hypothesis" as to the motive for the attack. An autopsy showed she had been stabbed several times before the fire.




On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron called the crime "horrendous" and vowed to continue his combat against anti-Semitism in the country with "absolute determination".

According to reports, Knoll escaped a notorious World War II roundup of Paris Jews, in which police herded some 13,000 people - including more than 4,000 children - into a stadium and shipped them to the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi German-occupied Poland.

The crime comes amid a recent uptick in violent attacks against Jews in France. In a Facebook post, Habib wrote: "Mireille K. knew the suspect, now in custody: a 35-Year-old Muslim neighbour, a sex offender, whom she had known since he was a child".

Her son Alain Knoll told the broadcaster that she had lived all her life in the eastern 11th arrondissement (district) of Paris.

The killing caused shock in France and was condemned by the authorities and by Jewish organisations.

France's half-a-million-plus Jewish community is the largest in Europe but has been hit by a wave of emigrations to Israel in the past two decades, partly due to the emergence of a virulent strain of anti-Semitism in predominantly immigrant neighbourhoods. In 2012, four people were killed, including three children, outside a Jewish school in Toulouse.

According to Paris prosecutors, the victim, Mireille Knoll, suffered from severe arthritis and could hardly move.


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