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The trial of the killers of Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll

Yacine Mihoub, Mireille Knoll, Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll, Holocaust Survivor, Holocaust

Oped

The trial of the killers of Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll

Yacine Mihoub, the killer of Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll knew that Jews were rich and Jews were evil. His mind, unbalanced by Islam, could not comprehend that Mireille Knoll was not rich – “like all Jews” — but poor, and not evil, “like all Jews,” but surpassingly kind, as she had been to him, for nearly a quarter-century, just as she was to him that day when she let him in, with his sidekick, to her apartment, where first they drank the wine she offered, and then proceeded to stab her eleven times, and then to set her body on fire. Writes Hugh Fitzgerald

The trial of the killers of Frenchwoman Mireille Knoll, a diminutive 85-year-old and Holocaust survivor who was murdered by one of her Muslim neighbors and his accomplice, is now proceeding in Paris. A report on the trial is here: “‘How Could They Have Murdered This Angel?’: Son of Murdered Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll Delivers Impassioned Testimony at Trial of Accused Antisemitic Killers,” by Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, October 29, 2021:

Relatives and friends of Mireille Knoll — the 85-year-old French Holocaust survivor robbed and stabbed to death in a brutal antisemitic assault in 2018 — described her as an “angel” and a “deeply loving mother” during the third day of the criminal trial of her accused killers in Paris.

She was “chaleureuse” (warm), “petillante” (sparkling) and “bienveillante” (welcoming), or as one of her sons, Daniel said, an “angel.” Despite Knoll’s age and illness – she had Parkinson’s – her door was always open to visitors, including to Yacine Mihoub, the young Muslim man who lived in the same apartment building and whom she had known – and befriended — ever since he was eight years old.

Her murder was particularly atrocious in light of the fact that she was known so intimately to her killer, whom she had treated so well since he was a child, apparently even helping to look after him, and welcoming him to her modest apartment whenever he felt like stopping by for a chat or a treat — a cup of chocolate, a slice of cake — from this warm, affectionate, and motherly woman.

Among those giving testimony at the trial of 32-year-old Yacine Mihoub and 25-year-old Alex Carrimbacus was Mireille Knoll’s son, Daniel. In calm, measured tones, he delivered a deeply personal tribute to his late mother, challenging the accused to finally tell the truth about her murder.

A grandmother who lived alone in an apartment in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, Knoll had known Mihoub, who lived with his family in the same public housing project, since his childhood. On March 23, 2018, Mihoub, who would often visit Knoll without prior notice, arrived at her apartment with Carrimbacus, whom he befriended in prison. During the visit, which began with the pair drinking glasses of port wine, Knoll, who suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, was stabbed 11 times and her apartment set alight. Since their arrest by police in the days following the murder, Mihoub and Carrimbacus have continued to pin the blame on the other for the frenzied stabbing of Knoll with a knife.

The 85-year-old, whose relatives had warned her to be careful with Mihoub, whom they did not trust, nonetheless trustingly welcomed him and his friend into her apartment when they arrived unannounced, and proceeded to offer them glasses of wine. They had other things in mind. They knew that Mireille Knoll was a Jew, and everyone knows that Jews “have money,” and therefore she deserved to be robbed. It never occurred to these dimwitted criminals that if Mireille Knoll had had any money, she would not still have been living in one of the projects for low-income tenants. As it turned out, she lived on 800 euros ($900) a month, not exactly a princely sum. She was poor as a church mouse, but her killers were too dumb to know that.

At Thursday’s court proceedings, Daniel Knoll said that he still did not understand why “these two people, these monsters, murdered this angel,” indicating the two defendants.

Referring to Mihoub, he added: “She received this man, this neighbor, in her home. How could he have conceived of such an abominable murder?”…

How could Yacine Mihoub have conceived of such an abominable murder?

It’s not hard, if you have been instructed since childhood that Muslims are the “best of peoples” and non-Muslims “the most vile of created beings.” Nor is it hard when your holy book, the Qur’an, depicts the Jews — Robert Spencer provides the useful compilation of verses — as “inveterately evil and bent on destroying the wellbeing of the Muslims. They are the strongest of all people in enmity toward the Muslims (5:82); as fabricating things and falsely ascribing them to Allah (2:79; 3:75, 3:181); claiming that Allah’s power is limited (5:64); loving to listen to lies (5:41); disobeying Allah and never observing his commands (5:13); disputing and quarreling (2:247); hiding the truth and misleading people (3:78); staging rebellion against the prophets and rejecting their guidance (2:55); being hypocritical (2:14, 2:44); giving preference to their own interests over the teachings of Muhammad (2:87); wishing evil for people and trying to mislead them (2:109); feeling pain when others are happy or fortunate (3:120); being arrogant about their being Allah’s beloved people (5:18); devouring people’s wealth by subterfuge (4:161); slandering the true religion and being cursed by Allah (4:46); killing the prophets (2:61); being merciless and heartless (2:74); never keeping their promises or fulfilling their words (2:100); being unrestrained in committing sins (5:79); being cowardly (59:13-14); being miserly (4:53); being transformed into apes and pigs for breaking the Sabbath (2:63-65; 5:59-60; 7:166); and more.”

“He’d known her since the age of eight, and he knew that my mom had nothing to steal,” Daniel Knoll said, pointedly declining to look in Mihoub’s direction.

He became emotional when recalling that firefighters who answered an emergency call at his mother’s apartment following her murder discovered her partially-burned body — a fate, Daniel Knoll said, that was reminiscent of the burning of victims’ corpses in Nazi concentration camps. As a nine-year-old child in 1942, his mother had survived the notorious “Vel d’Hiv” round-up, when French police officers attached to the Vichy collaborator regime organized the deportation of 13,000 Jews to the Auschwitz concentration camp….

Mihoub knew that Jews were rich and Jews were evil. His mind, unbalanced by Islam, could not comprehend that Mireille Knoll was not rich – “like all Jews” — but poor, and not evil, “like all Jews,” but surpassingly kind, as she had been to him, for nearly a quarter-century, just as she was to him that day when she let him in, with his sidekick, to her apartment, where first they drank the wine she offered, and then proceeded to stab her eleven times, and then to set her body on fire.

When I told the story of Mireille Knoll’s murder by a young Muslim man whom she had known since he was eight years old to my car mechanic, an Armenian refugee who arrived from Syria in the early 1980s, he told me the story of his father, Nazrat. Nazrat had had since childhood a Sunni Muslim, Mahmoud, as his best friend. When the Muslim Brotherhood began to attack the Syrian government in the early 1980s, the army gave a demonstration of its power by dragging through the streets of certain neighborhoods in Damascus the corpses of M.B. members. The populace was instructed to come out of their homes to watch and to applaud. Nazrat did as instructed, but Mahmoud did not applaud. Instead, he sidled up to Nazrat’s father and whispered to his old friend: “When we, the real Muslims, win, I will do this to you” — and he made a gesture with his hand of decapitating his friend. Nazrat understood, and within a year he had left Syria, taking his whole family to America. Lifetimes of friendship – between Nazrat and Mahmoud, between Mireille Knoll and Yacine Mihoub – disappear when the diktats of Islam prevail.

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