NPR

Alarm Grows In France Over Anti-Semitic Violence

As France engages in soul-searching about recent violence, many have blamed anti-Semitism on French Muslims. But others argue the reality is more complex.
Demonstrators hold signs against anti-Semitism during a silent march in Paris on March 28 in memory of Mireille Knoll, an 85-year-old Jewish woman murdered in her home in what police believe was an anti-Semitic attack. Knoll escaped the mass deportation of Jews from Paris during World War II. Source: NurPhoto

In late March, thousands of people took to the streets of Paris to protest the murder of an elderly woman whose killers may have been motivated by anti-Semitism. The silent march started at Place de la Nation and ended at 85-year-old Mireille Knoll's apartment in a working-class neighborhood in the east of the city. That's where her partially charred body was found with stab wounds on March 23.

The killing horrified France — all the more so because Knoll, as a 9-year-old girl, escaped a roundup of Paris Jews who were eventually deported to Auschwitz during World War II. Knoll was "murdered ... because she was Jewish," French President Emmanuel Macron said at her funeral, and those responsible for her killing "profaned our sacred values and our history."

Like many of the marchers, Sophie Gorins is not Jewish. But she wore a yellow Star of David pinned to her coat with the word "target" on it.

Twelve years ago, "there was a Jewish man who was murdered because people thought he was rich, that he had money," she said. "He was tortured for 21 days. I did the march for him. I

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