Killing of Holocaust survivor, 85, causes shock in France

Wednesday, 28 Mar, 2018

The death of the frail octogenarian - she was suffering from Parkinson's disease, one of her sons said - has shocked France's Jewish community, coming a year after an Orthodox Jewish woman in her sixties was thrown out the window of her Paris flat by a neighbour shouting "Allahu Akhbar" (God is greatest).

Mireille Knoll, 85, was found dead with 11 stab wounds at her apartment in a working class area of the capital on Friday.

According to the judicial source, the arrested men were notified by a judge that they are suspected of murder motivated by the victim's "real or supposed adherence to a religion", as well as aggravated theft and damage to property. According to press reports, the second suspect told the police that he heard Knoll's neighbor screaming "allahu akbar" prior to stabbing the elderly woman to death.

The son of slain 85-year-old Jewish woman whose partly charred body was found in her home told i24NEWS on Monday that his mother had known the attacker for a number of years and never foresaw he would commit such a heinous act. Her apartment was set alight.

A silent march will take place Wednesday in Paris in memory of Knoll.

Prosecutors say two men have been arrested in connection with the murder.

A family member of Mireille Knoll said she suspected a neighbor who used to come to see her and was in the apartment during the day.

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"This has been a point of contention between Jewish leaders and the French government, even as French President Emmanuel Macron has recently sought to improve relations", the Post says.

"I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences on the appalling crime committed against Mrs. Knoll".

Speaking from Jerusalem Monday, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said it was "plausible" that Knoll was also killed because of her religion, and her death revealed the need for a "fundamental and permanent" fight against anti-Semitism. "I reaffirm my absolute determination to fight anti-Semitism". In an interview for French TV, he said Knoll was probably the victim of "fantaisies that French Jews are all rich". Just previous year, a elderly Orthodox Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi, was beaten and thrown out of her window in France. "I heard about the outrageous murder of Mirelle Knoll-a Holocaust survivor-in Paris", he said.

Those detained were held at the Vel' d'Hiv cycling track in Paris before thousands were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Following months of debate, a French court finally ruled in February that the Halimi case would be prosecuted as an anti-Semitic hate crime.

"We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community in France and have conveyed our support directly to the leadership of the CRIF".