American Jews remember murdered French woman

American Jewish organizations remember Mireille Knoll, the 85-year-old Holocaust survivor who was murdered in her Paris apartment.

Elad Benari ,

Mireille Knoll with Grandaughter
Mireille Knoll with Grandaughter
Courtesy of the family

American Jewish organizations on Thursday paused to remember Mireille Knoll, the 85-year-old French Holocaust survivor found murdered in her Paris apartment last week, JTA reported.

The American Jewish Committee held a ceremony at its New York office attended by French Consul General Anne-Claire Legendre, Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan and diplomats from 10 European countries and South Korea.

“Mireille Knoll’s murder haunts me. It is a painful reminder of the face of anti-Semitism in France today,” said the Paris-based AJC Europe director, Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, who addressed the event by video.

The World Jewish Congress held a similar event at its New York headquarters on Thursday, which Legendre also attended.

“We must continue to sound the alarm again and again until we put a stop to this terrifying rise of anti-Semitism spreading today across France and all of Europe,” WJC President Ronald Lauder said, according to a statement.

Knoll, who escaped deportation to a Nazi death camp when French police rounded up Jews in Paris in 1942, was stabbed 11 times before her apartment was set ablaze by the perpetrators on March 23, police say.

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 Muslim man, was a neighbor of Knoll. Prosecutors investigating the murder have confirmed the two suspects in custody targeted her because she was Jewish.

Knoll’s funeral on Wednesday was attended by French President Emmanuel Macron, who said that "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.

Macron on Tuesday condemned the murder, calling it “appalling” and vowing to fight anti-Semitism.

Knoll’s murder occurred as France's half-a-million-plus Jewish community has voiced increasing concern over a rise in violent anti-Semitic acts.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe recently warned that his country is facing a “new form of anti-Semitism” marked by violence.

To fight something, one must have “the courage to put a name on it ... to acknowledge that, yes, there is a new form of anti-Semitism, violent and brutal, emerging more and more openly in our land,” he said.