Up to 2,000 French Jews may have died of coronavirus, organizations say

'In our busiest two weeks, we sent 80 coffins to Israel,' local ZAKA chief says.

Ben Shaul ,

Coronavirus patient in France (illustrative)
Coronavirus patient in France (illustrative)
REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

French Jewish organizations have reported that approximately 1,500-2,000 Jews died of coronavirus, including some who were not brought to hospitals and died in nursing homes and other nursing centers.

France is home to Europe's largest Jewish community, and has an estimated 500,000 members. It is not clear exactly how many Jews were among the 23,000 who died of coronavirus in France, but the Jewish section in the cemetery near Paris, which was expected to last for years, filled up nearly to capacity in the past few weeks.

Rabbi Tzemach Ben-Naim, head of the French Jewish burial society, said that according to official statistics, 1,311 Jews died during the coronavirus outbreak, and 1,075 of them died of the disease itself.

Previously, the burial society had estimated over 1,300 Jewish deaths.

"In our busiest two weeks of the coronavirus outbreak, we sent 80 coffins to Israel," ZAKA France chief Rabbi Menachem Mendel Peretz said. However, he did not give the number of dead brought to Israel during the entire period.

The number of French Jews who died of coronavirus seems to be higher than their representation in the general population. One reason suggested is that most French Jews live in Paris or Strasbourg, where the rate of infection was highest.



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