Horror in Paris: Macron condemns horrific anti-Semitic killing of Holocaust survivor, 85

Their announcement yesterday came amid mounting anger in France's Jewish community over the reluctance of officials to treat the murder as an antisemitic crime.

Mireille Knoll was found dead inside the blackened remains of her apartment, which police believe was set ablaze after she was attacked, a judicial source said.

Two suspects, both described as young men in their 20s, including one who had known Mireille Knoll "for a long time", were charged with stabbing her to death.

"We have understood, with horror, that anti-Semitism is still alive", he told CRIF, an umbrella group of Jewish organisations. Many are now pointing out similarities in the case of 66-year-old Jewish woman Sarah Halimi, murdered in Paris last April.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday it was "plausible" someone killed her because she was Jewish, and anti-Semitism needs to be fought on a "fundamental and permanent" basis.

Two of the victim's grandchildren said that the neighbor was Muslim and was well-known to their loved one, and added that the fires set had destroyed pictures and other memories they may have had of their grandmother. But Knoll's cause of death wasn't the fire or smoke inhalation, an autopsy revealed, but at least eleven stab wounds.

"The awful thing is that one of the attackers told the other: "She's a Jew, she must have money", Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told parliament on Tuesday. "One of them had previously been convicted of molesting a 12-year-old girl who had been staying at Mireille Knoll's flat", according to BBC.

As a child, Mrs Knoll escaped the 1942 roundup of more than 13,000 Jews by French police in Paris, who were detained at the Vél d'Hiv cycling track before being handed over to the Nazis and sent to death camps.

After the war she returned to the French capital and married a Holocaust survivor, who died in the early 2000s.

"I reaffirm my absolute determination to fight against anti-Semitism", he wrote on Twitter.

The community raised concern about a rise in violent acts against Jews in France in recent years.

In 2015, vandals desecrated 250 tombstones in a Jewish cemetery in eastern France days after four Jews were killed in an attack on a kosher grocery in Paris.

France's half-a-million-plus Jewish community is the largest in Europe but has been hit by a wave of emigrations to Israel in the past two decades, partly due to the emergence of a virulent strain of anti-Semitism in predominantly immigrant neighbourhoods.

Almost 8,000 French Jews emigrated to Israel in the wake of the supermarket attack, in which an employee and three customers were shot dead by an Islamist gunman, The Local reports.

"She was attacked because she was Jewish".

  • Tracy Klein