The son of Mireille Knoll — the 85-year-old Holocaust survivor murdered in a horrific stabbing attack at her Paris apartment on March 23 — has spoken of his fears regarding the long-term future for Europe’s Jewish communities in an interview with French radio.
Speaking to Radio France on Thursday, Daniel Knoll observed that when “I see what is developing, it leaves me very afraid.”
Rising antisemitism represented a “real danger to the Jews of Europe,” Knoll remarked. “I’m always thinking that we’ll unfortunately have to consider leaving one day,” he said — though he took care to add that his view was not shared by his older brother, Alain.
The two men who assaulted Mrs. Knoll — 28-year-old Yacine Mihoub, a neighbor of Mrs. Knoll’s since his childhood, and his associate Alex Carrimbacus, 21 — are currently awaiting trial on a charge of murder aggravated by antisemitism.
In his confession to police, Carrimbacus alleged that Mihoub had spoken to him before the crime about “the Jews” and their supposed wealth, and that he had yelled the words “Allahu akhbar” as he stabbed Mrs. Knoll in her throat.
The brutal murder of Mrs. Knoll — who escaped the notorious 1942 Vel d’Hiv deportation of Jews from Paris by the Nazis and the French police, and was later married to a survivor of Auschwitz — as a further example of the notoriously violent antisemitism that French Jews have been subjected to for over a decade.
Her death came less than a year after the savage killing of another elderly Jewish lady — 65-year-old Sarah Halimi — who also lived alone in public housing in the same Paris neighborhood. But while Halimi’s plight at the hands of an Islamist intruder was virtually ignored for several weeks after her murder on April 4, 2017, Mrs. Knoll’s death was widely reported to a shocked public, and strongly condemned across the French political spectrum for both its antisemitic nature and its sheer brutality.
Daniel Knoll acknowledged that the outpouring of anger and sympathy following his mother’s murder had been a great comfort to the family.
“What was reassuring was to see the French community together, this reconciliation between Jews, Christians, Muslims, blacks, Asians,” he said. “We were moved by our experience, from this support for my mother.”
Knoll continued: “I think my mother would have been so happy to have so many people for her.”
The family’s goal now was “to perpetuate the name of our mother and to fight against antisemitism everywhere,” he said. “We will go to our Muslim friends and we will fight against human stupidity, and that’s enough for us to do. ”
While France cannot be considered antisemitic as a country, Knoll emphasized, an antisemitic movement was nonetheless developing among what he called “the monsters that are in France.”
“This is the minority that doesn’t understand anything, that doesn’t have a culture, that doesn’t know what politeness and respect are,” he said. “There is indeed a stupid antisemitism.”