Two Arrested in Murder of Holocaust Survivor in Paris

Cheryl Sanders
March 27, 2018

They managed to put out the fire and found Mireille Knoll had been stabbed 11 times before the fire was set.

Halimi's neighbor, 28-year old Kobili Traore, was arrested the next day, who, according to prosecutors, allegedly recited verses from the Koran before throwing her out of the window, shouting: "I've killed the Shaitan [devil in Arabic]".

Mireille Knoll, who escaped a mass roundup of Jews in Paris during World War II, was found dead in her apartment in eastern Paris on Friday by firefighters called to extinguish a blaze.

Reacting on Twitter President Emmanuel Macron condemned the "dreadful" killing and reiterated his determination to fighting anti-Semitism.

The two men have been jailed, the official said.

"It reminds us of the fundamental and permanent side of this battle [against anti-Semitism]", he said, speaking alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a state visit to Israel. But Knoll's cause of death wasn't the fire or smoke inhalation, an autopsy revealed, but at least eleven stab wounds.

"The judges will have to decide how the case will proceed, but this is not the same as Sarah Halimi; the government is clearly admitting the anti-Semitism here", he said. Her case led to an outcry from local Jewish groups when it was not initially treated as a potential case of anti-Semitism.

French police directed by the occupying Nazis arrested 13,152 Jews, including more than 4000 children, and held them in the city's winter bicycle stadium.

The CRIF commented on the incident saying that the organisation "expects from the authorities the utmost transparency in the ongoing investigation so that the reasons for this barbaric crime are known to all as quickly as possible".

Prosecutors investigating the slaying of a Holocaust survivor in Paris said the two suspects in custody targeted her because she was Jewish.

French-Jewish parliamentarian Meyer Habib, who was in contact with the victim's family over the weekend, confirmed on Monday that Knoll was a survivor of the July 1942 Vel d'Hiv roundup of French Jews by the Vichy authorities, thanks to the Brazilian passport of her mother.

Jewish groups had reacted angrily to the investigators' delay in declaring that killing an anti-Semitic act.

France's half-a-million-plus Jewish community - the target of several deadly Islamist attacks in recent years - has expressed alarm over a rise in violent anti-Semitic acts.

Their announcement yesterday came amid mounting anger in France's Jewish community over the reluctance of officials to treat the murder as an antisemitic crime. In 2012 Mohamed Merah killed four people, including three children, outside a Jewish school in Toulouse.

Exactly one year ago, the Jewish community in Paris was shocked by the murder of Jewish pensioner Sarah Halimi. The group says a neighbor who had previously made anti-Semitic statements was one of the people under arrest.

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