Holocaust survivor’s body found charred, stabbed 11 times in Paris apartment

Holocaust survivor’s body found charred, stabbed 11 times in Paris apartment
A man was arrested after the body of an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor was found in her incinerated Paris apartment with 11 stab wounds. French-Jewish groups are calling on police to find out if the crime was anti-Semitic.

The incident took place at the woman’s home on Avenue Philippe Auguste in 11th arrondissement, Le Parisien reported, adding that suicide has been ruled out. The body was discovered on Friday.

The suspect in the attack, who was born in 1989, has been placed in custody, AFP reported, citing a judicial source.  According to a source close to the investigation, the first autopsy found stab wounds on the victim’s body.

In a public statement on Sunday, the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA) said “up to 11 stab wounds” were found on the charred body of the woman, identified only as Mireille K.

The watchdog called for authorities to “make every effort to find and bring the perpetrator to justice,” and to determine “whether it was an anti-Semitic crime as everything suggests.”

French-Jewish representative group Conseil Representatif des Institutions juives de France (CRIF) also called for “total transparency in the current investigation, so that the motives for this barbaric crime are known to all as fast as possible.”  The group’s president, Francis Kalifat, said that he expressed the “emotion and the deep concern of the Jewish population of France.”

However, French-Jewish politician Meyer Habib noted in a Facebook post on Sunday that the French authorities are “very careful about linking the murder to an anti-Semitic motive.” He added that the Holocaust survivor’s family has “no doubt about the anti-Semitic background of the incident.”

Recalling the murder of 65-year-old retired school teacher Sarah Halimi, which shook the French Jewish community in April 2017, Habib said in his post that “for the Jews of France, the nightmare continues.”

A Franco-Malian assailant beat Halimi to death in her before throwing her from a third-story window. The man, identified as Kada Traore, shouted religious slogans while murdering the woman. The apartment was also located in the 11th arrondissement.

Following months of debate, a French court finally ruled in February that the Halimi case would be prosecuted as an anti-Semitic hate crime.

“For Sarah, it took almost 10 months for the legal authorities to recognize the obvious reality. What about Mireille? The investigation has begun, but I am afraid that after Sarah, Mireille also fell victim to the hatred of Jews, which is increasingly seen in the suburbs, against the backdrop of Islamic radicalization, hatred of Israel but also hatred of France,” Habib wrote.

A wave of anti-Semitic attacks in France began in January 2015, after 29 people were taken hostage in a kosher supermarket. By the end of the terrorist's siege, four people had been executed.
Ricard Abitbol, president of the Confederation of Jews in France and Friends of Israel told RT in January that anti-Semitic sentiment has been recently on the rise.

“Every day we have people who are hurt, every day we have people who are insulted. We can be hurt by words but we don’t mind, but when we are hurt by a knife, a gun, you can’t say I don’t mind."

In December, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe acknowledged the problem, noting that “In our country, anti-Semitism is alive. It is not new, it is ancient. It is not superficial, it is well-rooted and it is alive.”