French police eye anti-Semitism in Holocaust survivor’s death

The Council of Jewish Institutions of France President Francis Kalifat said he was angered and concerned by the slaying of Mireille Knoll possibly because of her religion. Pool photo by Ludovic Marin/EPA-EFE

March 26 (UPI) — French authorities said Monday they will investigate the slaying of an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor in Paris as a possible anti-Semitic crime.

Authorities found the body of Mireille Knoll, who lived alone in a Paris apartment, inside her residence after a fire on Friday night, The Guardian reported. An autopsy revealed Knoll sustained multiple stab wounds before the fire.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday it was “plausible” someone killed her because she was Jewish, and anti-Semitism needs to be fought on a “fundamental and permanent” basis.

Knoll escaped the roundup of 13,000 Jews in Paris to Nazi death camps in 1942, the BBC reported. She previously complained to police about a neighbor who threatened to set her home on fire.

Police suspect two men, ages 22 and 29, of the crime. One of them has a previous conviction for molesting a 12-year-old girl staying in Knoll’s flat.

President Francis Kalifat of the Jewish umbrella organization, Council of Jewish Institutions of France, said in a statement that he had “anger and concern at such barbarism in France in 2018.”

The community raised concern about a rise in violent acts against Jews in France in recent years.

A judge confirmed last month that last year’s murder of Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old Orthodox Jewish woman who was beaten and thrown out her window in the same district of France, was anti-Semitic.


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