By Claire Gordon •
Published: 11 Nov 2021 • 21:42
A man who murdered a Holocaust survivor in her Paris apartment has been sentenced to life in prison. Yacine Mihoub, 32, was convicted of stabbing 85-year-old Mireille Knoll 11 times and then burning her body during a robbery gone wrong in March 2018. When the killing was made public it sparked an outcry about antisemitism in France.
Knoll had narrowly escaped a round-up of Parisian Jews by the Nazis during World War Two and was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Mihoub had an accomplice, Alex Carrimbacus, 25, who was jailed for 15 years for robbery, motivated by anti-Semitism.
Knoll was a neighbour of Mihoub’s mother and was close to his family when he was a child. The attack was fuelled by “a context of anti-Semitism” and “prejudices” about the supposed wealth of Jewish people. This misconception led Mihoub to believe Knoll had “hidden treasures” in her home. Carrimbacus claimed that he heard Mihoub shout “Allahu Akbar”, meaning “God is greatest” while stabbing the pensioner. The two robbers blame each other for the murder.
Mireille Knoll and her murder prompted anger over anti-Semitism in France and shocked the Jewish community. Tens of thousands of people, including government ministers, held a silent march in the woman’s memory. The trial of the perpetrators took place as violence against French Jews is on the increase, committed by radical Islamists. Knoll’s death came a year after Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old Jewish woman, was thrown from her balcony in Paris by Kobili Traore. He was shouting “Allahu Akbar” as he committed the crime, but he was deemed not criminally responsible due to his mind being affected by the regular consumption of cannabis.
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