French police investigate murder of holocaust survivor

A spokesperson said that preliminary evidence did not show an antisemitic characteristic, but that this possibility "has not been discounted."

French police stationed near Eifel Tower (photo credit: BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)
French police stationed near Eifel Tower
(photo credit: BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)
The investigation into the suspected murder of a Holocaust survivor in her Paris apartment has not revealed antisemitic motivations, a community watchdog said.
A spokesperson for SPCJ, the official monitor and security unit of the French Jewish community, told this to the 7sur7 news site Sunday in connection with the stabbing of Mirelle Kanol, 85, at her home Friday.
“A preliminary examination of the elements of the crime does not reveal an antisemitic characteristic, but this possibility has not been discounted as police investigate further,” the SPCJ spokesperson said.
Kanol escaped the Velodrome d’Hiver roundup of Jews by French police for their deportation to death camps and murder by the Nazis.
Police have a suspect, a 29-year-old man, in custody in connection with her death.
According to the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, the octogenarian’s body was set on fire Friday night. Her charred body also had at least 11 stab wounds.
A forensic examination of the apartment showed that an arsonist started a fire in at least five distinct areas of that space, the report also said.
“The barbarity of this murder sends us back to that of Sarah Halimi just one year ago,” Francis Kalifat, president of the CRIF umbrella of French Jewish communities, said in a statement Monday.
Halimi, a 66-year-old Jewish teacher and physician whom prosecutors say was murdered by her Muslim neighbor in April partly in connection with her Jewish identity. Antisemtisim was included in the indictment against Halimi’s suspceted killer, Kobili Traore, 28, after CRIF and BNVCA vocally protested its absence from the draft document.
“CRIF expects total transparency in the current investigation, so that the motives for this barbaric crime are known of all as fast as possible,” Kalifat added in the statement about Kanol.