A French Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust was stabbed and burned to death in what authorities believe to be a hate crime, The New York Times reports.
Mireille Knoll was found in her Paris apartment stabbed to death and partially burned after her assailants apparently tried to set her apartment on fire.
Prosecutors say Knoll may have been killed because of the “membership, real or supposed, of the victim of a particular religion.”
“This makes one feel something absolutely terrible. She escaped the anti-Semitism of the Nazis, but in the end her destiny followed her because she was killed because of anti-Semitism,” said Francis Kalifat, the head of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France.
“To attack a Jew is to attack France, and the values that are the very basis of the nation,” Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said in a statement.
Via The New York Times:
The speed with which the authorities recognized the hate-crime nature of Ms. Knoll’s murder is being seen as a reaction to the anger of France’s Jews at the official response to that earlier crime, which prosecutors took months to characterize as anti-Semitic.
By Monday, two suspects had been arrested in the murder of Ms. Knoll: both young men in their 20s, one of whom was a neighbor. “One of them had known her for a long time,” Mr. Kalifat said. “He had friendly relations with her.”
The Paris prosecutor’s office declined to characterize the origins of the two people; Mr. Kalifat said the principal suspect was of North African origin.
“These are not just thugs,” Kalifat told The Times. “She was attacked because she was Jewish. This is what characterizes anti-Semitism in our country.”
He added that the suspect “said that Jews have money, and that was the reason he attacked her.”
“She was absolutely massacred. Eleven knife wounds. That is hatred of the Jews, we see it in the fury of the murderer. This is how we recognize anti-Semitism,” he added.