Son insists to court his mother was murdered because she was Jewish

Mireille Knoll’s son tells Paris court her brutal murder was aggravated by “pure hatred.”

By Ben Cohen, The Algemeiner

As the trial of the two men charged with the killing of French Jewish Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll entered its fifth day, the court heard her son Alain explain how his mother’s brutal murder had been aggravated by “pure hatred” directed at an 85-year-old woman derided as a “youpine” — French pejorative slang for “yid.”

Lawyers at the trial in Paris of the two accused men, 32-year-old Yacine Mihoub and 25-year-old Alex Carrimbacus, attempted to raise doubts that Knoll — who was stabbed eleven times before her body was badly charred in a fire deliberately started in her apartment — was murdered because she was Jewish.

Asked by Charles Consigny, the lead defense lawyer for Mihoub, why he insisted that his mother’s murder was antisemitic in character, Alain Knoll said that realization had dawned on his family as they learned more details of her killing.

“At first, my brother and I didn’t see the antisemitic aspect, we thought it was a crime of villainy,” Alain Knoll told the court.

Controlling his anger, he continued: “But in view of the violence behind the stab wounds, an obvious expression of pure hatred, I conclude that they targeted a ‘yid,’ and they slaughtered her.”

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In emotional testimony, Alain Knoll recalled that he had visited his mother only hours before her murder on March 23, 2018, arriving at her apartment in a Paris public housing project to prepare her lunch. Entering the building, he encountered Mihoub, a career petty criminal whose family lived in the same building, and who had known Mireille Knoll since the age of eight.

Mihoub told Alain Knoll that he had just been released from prison. He had in fact been released in Nov. 2017, four months earlier, having served a sentence for a sexual assault on a female minor that occurred in the apartment of Mireille Knoll, whom Mihoub would frequently visit unannounced. Because of that crime, Mihoub was banned from visiting the building in the 11th arrondissement where she lived — a fact Alain Knoll confessed to being aware of, though he chose to ignore it.

Alain Knoll said that when his mother opened the door to her apartment, she seemed pleased to see Mihoub, who had performed odd jobs for her since he was a boy. At the same time, he said he had “felt uneasy” with Mihoub’s over-familiar behavior.

Alain Knoll added that he had overheard snippets of the conversation between his mother and Mihoub, which included mentions of the extreme right along with the antisemitic caricature that Jews enjoy special wealth and privilege.

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This last statement was challenged by Fabrice de Korodi Katona, a defense lawyer for Mihoub, who stated that Alain Knoll had not raised these conversations when he spoke with police investigators on the evening of the murder and on the following day.

The eldest son of Mireille Knoll, Alain said he had reluctantly left Mihoub alone with his mother as she had seemed comfortable with his presence. “If I had known what was going to happen … I could not protect her,” he told the court in a voice strained with emotion.

He also displayed a charcoal portrait of his mother during his testimony, in a bid to remind the court of Mireille Knoll’s facial features, after photographs of her badly burned visage were shown.

Last Thursday, the trial heard from Alain Knoll’s brother, Daniel, who told the court that his mother’s burned body had brought back memories of the burning of victims’ corpses in Nazi concentration camps.

As a nine-year-old child in 1942, Mireille Knoll 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.