Paris trial opens into 'anti-Semitic' murder of elderly Jewish woman

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The trial has opened in Paris of two men accused of the 2018 stabbing murder in Paris motivated by anti-Semitism of 85-year-old Mireille Knoll, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease.

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Two men have appeared in court in Paris charged with the antisemitic murder of 85-year-old Mireille Knoll, who in 1942 escaped from France’s most notorious second world war roundup of Jews, reports The Guardian.

Yacine Mihoub, 31, and Alex Carrimbacus, 25, who met in prison while serving sentences for robbery, violence and sexual assault, are accused of stabbing Knoll to death and setting fire to her apartment.

They could face life imprisonment if convicted of what court documents described as the culpable homicide of someone “they knew to be vulnerable owing to her physical condition, and which in addition was carried out because of her Jewish faith.”

Knoll, who lived alone and had Parkinson’s disease, was killed in March 2018, a year after the killing of another Jewish woman in Paris, Sarah Halimi, 65, who was thrown out of the window of her home. The attack on Knoll raised further questions about France’s failure to tackle antisemitism.

Both suspects blamed the other for Knoll’s death and have repeatedly changed their stories. “It will take a miracle for the truth to come out of their mouths,” said Gilles-William Goldnadel, the lawyer for the victim’s son, before the start of the trial.

Goldnadel said the evidence against the pair was overwhelming, describing the killing as “heinous antisemitism”. Knoll’s son Daniel told journalists outside the courtroom that the men were “monsters” and that relatives expected “a very severe sentence”.

He told RMC radio he was not sure if he would be able to turn the page even after the verdict. “I hope afterwards I will feel liberated. But I don’t know,” he said. “We wait to know the truth, but I’m not sure we are actually going to get it.”

Knoll fled occupied Paris for Portugal with her mother at the age of nine, narrowly escaping the Vél d’Hiv roundup of Jewish families carried out by French police on behalf of the Nazi authorities.

About 13,000 people, including more than 4,000 children, were herded into the velodrome in Paris’s 15th arrondissement before being moved to internment camps including Drancy, northeast of the capital, in 1942. They were then deported to Auschwitz, from where fewer than 100 returned.

Read more of this report from The Guardian.

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