‘I Think I Was Saved’ From France, Writes Granddaughter of Brutally-Murdered Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll
The president of France and the leader of the Democratic Party in the US Senate were among several international figures who paid tribute on Tuesday to Mireille Knoll — the 85-year-old Holocaust survivor murdered in her Paris apartment last Friday — but it was a Facebook post by one of the victim’s granddaughters that best captured the tragedy of the moment.
Jessica Knoll, who lives in Israel, composed a poem in Hebrew in which she paid tribute to her grandmother — whose death is being investigated by French police as an antisemitic hate crime — and excoriated Europe as a continent whose politicians “have stopped thinking.”
“To those who asked if I have a French passport, why am I not there? Well, I think I was saved,” the poem began.
Of her life in Israel, she wrote: “It’s not that it’s better here, and I still hate Bibi, but there is something in Israel that apparently is not found in any other corner of the world, as a people. Unity. Comradeship. Pride. Nationhood.”
The poem included a candid reflection on her grandmother’s horrifying fate:
Last Friday, a Muslim neighbor decided to take the life of my grandmother at her home in Paris.
He burned, along the way, all the childhood memories that we had in pictures and the heart I had there.
No, I’m not like that, I don’t generalize.
I don’t hate people. I hate fanatics!
Those without a conscience. Without reason. Without a heart.
There is no justice and no justification, at least the story has already been heard.
Grandma, they are talking about you in the newspapers.
The two alleged murderers, aged 29 and 21, were charged late on Monday for an antisemitic hate crime by French authorities. The elder of the pair had known Mrs. Knoll since his childhood, and lived on the seventh floor of her building in the 11th arrondissement of the French capital. Both men had previous convictions for violence and sexual assault.
Knoll was found on Friday night in her apartment by firefighters putting out a blaze lit by the killers after they stabbed her at least 11 times. A source close to the murder investigation told Le Parisien on Tuesday that the 21-year-old, who was homeless, said that Knoll’s neighbor had convinced him to participate in a “robbery on a Jewish woman.”
Meanwhile, a march against antisemitism to commemorate Mrs. Knoll on Wednesday became mired in political controversy after Francis Kalifat — president of French Jewish representative organization CRIF — declared that representatives of far-right and extreme-left political parties should not participate.
“Neither Jean-Luc Melenchon (the leader of the far-left party, La France Insoumise ) nor Marine le Pen and the FN (the extreme-right National Front) will be welcome tomorrow,” Kalifat wrote on Twitter.
Earlier, the CRIF president argued that Melenchon’s support for the BDS campaign against Israel, “which expresses a hatred of the State of Israel and Jews,” meant that his presence at the march would be a “contradiction.”