Murdered French Jewish woman brought to rest

President Emmanuel Macron in attendance as hundreds attend funeral of 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll.

Elad Benari,

Mireille Knoll
Mireille Knoll
Courtesy of the family

Hundreds of people on Wednesday attended the funeral of 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll, who was murdered in her apartment in the 11th District of Paris last week.

French President Emmanuel Macron and former President Nicolas Sarkozy attended the funeral. Macron eulogized Knoll and said "this is a crime and a murder of a helpless woman only because of one fact: that she was Jewish."

"The killer harmed the most sacred values of the French nation," he added.

Knoll’s torched body was found with 11 stab wounds inside her apartment last week.

Prosecutors on Monday indicted two defendants, in connection with what is being tried as a murder with aggravated circumstances of a hate crime. They are also charged with robbery.

One of the suspects in custody, a 29-year-old man, was a neighbor of Knoll. Prosecutors investigating the murder have confirmed the two suspects in custody targeted her because she was Jewish.

Following Knoll’s funeral, thousands of people took part in a silent march in Paris in her memory. The march was organized by CRIF, the umbrella organization of French Jewish organizations.

The leaders of several political parties joined the march, according to the AFP news agency.

Community leaders carrying white roses and lawmakers wearing their official sashes led the march from Place de la Nation to Kroll's apartment building in the east of the capital.

One woman carrying a rose who gave her name as Annie said she had come to make a stand "for peace" and "against the savagery of barbaric people who are no longer human beings".

An estimated 30,000 people took part in the march. Interior Minister Gerard Collomb and Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen were part of a large government contingent.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who had been told she was not welcome by CRIF, was loudly booed on arrival.

"I have a right to be here," a defiant Le Pen told reporters, insisting that her National Front party -- co-founded by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, a convicted Holocaust denier -- had been fighting anti-Semitism "for years" under her watch.

Le Pen, who lost the presidential election to Macron came under fire during the election campaign after it was discovered that her replacement at the helm of the National Front party expressed skepticism about Nazi gas chambers.

She later insisted she “abhors” Holocaust deniers and added that today "there is no one in the direction of the National Front who defend these theses".

Far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon was also booed and heckled after he too defied a call to stay away.

Both politicians left shortly afterwards.

"I made it very clear, I explained that the high number of anti-Semites on both the extreme left and the extreme right made these parties unacceptable," CRIF leader Francis Kalifat told RTL radio earlier.

A vigil was also held in Jerusalem, where around 80 people, mostly French immigrants, gathered at Paris Square to light candles in Knoll's memory.

Other gatherings took part across France including at Strasbourg, Lyon, Nantes, Bordeaux and Toulouse with the largest in Marseilles attracting around 800 people, according to AFP.




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