An 85-year-old Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust has been murdered in her own home in what is believed to be an anti-Semitic attack.
Grandmother Mireille Knoll was found stabbed to death in her 11th arrondissement Paris flat after a fire broke out.
Police are now treating the murder as motivated by anti-Semitism after it was discovered she had survived France’s most notorious second world war round up of Jews in 1942.
Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the killing, both reported to be men in their twenties. Judicial sources confirmed motivation behind Mireille’s death was due to her religion, The Guardian reports.
The world lost a Holocaust survivor – because of blind hate.
May her memory be a blessing. ?️ pic.twitter.com/E0wmhjC2pt
— Hananya Naftali (@HananyaNaftali) March 26, 2018
On Sunday, March 25, investigators claimed they were ‘not excluding any hypothesis’ as to the motivation behind the murder.
However, just one day later the Paris prosecutor stated the attack was thought to be of an anti-Semitic nature.
Mireille, the widow of an Auschwitz survivor who had lived alone in a social housing complex, was only nine years old when she evaded the infamous 1942 detainment of over 13,000 Parisian Jews.
Less than 100 of the people summoned to the Vélodrome d’Hiver cycling stadium survived after being taken to Nazi concentration camps. Mireille was only saved because her mother had a Brazilian passport.
This is just horrific, sick beyond words!
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) March 26, 2018
MP Meyer Habib claimed Mireille had been killed on account of her faith in a Facebook post:
Her name was Mireille Knoll, 85 years old, the human face of a woman, a victim of a barbaric murder.
I visited the two sons of Mireille Knoll Z ‘ l and their wives tonight.
I met a beautiful family steeped in humanist values, welded by love and destroyed by grief.
Look at the bright face of this woman, who was just sweetness and goodness, to imagine the suffering of her children and grandchildren, who reside in Israel and have just arrived in Paris to pay her a last tribute on this eve of Passover.
They have given me a multitude of details, which I cannot make public at this stage.
Mireille Knoll was able to escape the rafle of the HIV virus from her mother in 1942, she died in 2018 against the hatred and barbarism of an Islamist, stabbed 11 times, In the family apartment, Avenue Philippe Auguste Paris 11th.
It is the same barbarity that kills Jewish children in Toulouse, slits a priest in his church in Saint-Etienne-de-Rouvray or a gendarmerie officer in trèbes..
We agreed to see us tomorrow with the sons. I enlisted to accompany them to get truth and justice.
Mrs. Knoll, we won’t forget you. Justice will be returned to you.
According to The Guardian, members of France’s Jewish community have expressed concerns in regards to rising violent anti-semitic acts over the last few years.
Only last month, a judge confirmed the 2016 murder of 65-year-old Sarah Halimi, a Jewish woman who was beaten before being thrown out of a window, was motivated by anti-Semitism.
The umbrella group of French Jewish organisations, CRIF, has made the following statement which calls for ‘the fullest transparency’ by authorities:
In tribute to Mireille Knoll, the Crif took the initiative to organize a rally, on Friday, March 28, at 18:30, Place de la Nation in Paris. This gathering was quickly joined by a large number of organizations, associations and institutions who in turn called to participate in this mobilization.
The event transcended the boundaries of the Jewish community and spread to the French national community. It is with emotion and gratitude that the Crif sees new participants added minute by minute.
Together, let’s mobilize against hatred. Together, let’s walk to honor the memory of our missing. And together, let’s be united against terrorism
May the memories of Mireille Knoll, Sarah Halimi, and all other French Jews killed simply because they were Jews, be a blessing pic.twitter.com/2IU7XzbIeC
— #JeSuisMireille (@Cameron_Gray) March 26, 2018
Out thoughts are with the family of Mireille Knoll at this difficult time.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.