Plaque commemorating murdered French Jew desecrated in France

The slaying of a young Jewish Parisian returns to the headlines more than a decade later as anonymous culprits desecrate a memorial erected in his name.

November 2, 2017 02:25
2 minute read.
Photograph of Ilan Halimi

Kidnap victim Ilan Halimi 311. (photo credit: AP Photo/Benoit Tessier)

A plaque in memory of Ilan Halimi, a young, Jewish Parisian who was abducted and tortured until he died of his wounds in 2006, has been vandalized again, Le Monde reported on Wednesday evening.

Marie-Helene Amiable, mayor of Bagneux (Hauts-de- Seine), the suburban commune south of Paris where the plaque in Halimi’s memory was erected, told Le Monde that the memorial was found “covered with antisemitic inscriptions, insults and obscenities.”

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AFP reported Wednesday that the Nanterre prosecutor’s office said that among the scrawls on the plaque were a swastika, the name “Hitler” and an inscription that read “Free Fofana.”

Youssouf Fofana was the leader of the “Les Barbares” gang that kidnapped Halimi, attempted to negotiate with police over ransom and, after days of torture, left the young man near Bagneux’s train station, where he was found dying of his wounds near the train tracks.

The Hauts-de-Seine police opened an investigation into the incident and forensic units have been dispatched to the scene in an attempt to discover the identity of the anonymous culprits.

This is not the first time that the plaque in memory of Halimi has been defiled in an apparent antisemitic hate crime. A similar attack on the memorial took place in 2015, and the perpetrators were never found.

Amiable told Le Monde that a new plaque will be installed in the coming days to replace the one that is now covered with profanities.

The text on the plaque is expected to be identical to the current one, which reads: “The people of Bagneux remember Ilan Halimi (October 11, 1982 – February 13, 2006), a victim of barbarism, antisemitism and racism.”

Last year a film about the tragic story of Halimi’s kidnapping and subsequent death was released to cinemas in France.

The film, titled 24 Days: The True Story of the Ilan Halimi Affair, depicted the last month of Halimi’s life.

Halimi was employed by a cellphone shop in Paris. On January 20, 2006, a young woman entered the store, struck up a conversation with Halimi and invited him on a date. But when the 23-year-old Halimi arrived at the cafe where they planned to meet, he found the girl accompanied by Les Barbares.

The gang members kidnapped him and tortured him for days at an apartment in Bagneux. When police found him covered in knife wounds and cigarette burns on February 13 he was immediately evacuated to a hospital, but succumbed to his wounds on the way.

Halimi was buried in Israel.

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