Man stabbed in Monsey Hanukkah attack succumbs to wounds

Man stabbed in Monsey Hanukkah attack succumbs to wounds

Josef Neumann, 72, was severely injured in December assault, suffering deep gashes to his head from machete-wielding attacker that left him in a coma

Josef Neumann, 72, who was seriously injured during a December 29, 2019, machete assault in Monsey, New York, and died three months later (courtesy)
Josef Neumann, 72, who was seriously injured during a December 29, 2019, machete assault in Monsey, New York, and died three months later (courtesy)

A man seriously wounded in a Hanukkah attack on a Jewish gathering in Monsey, New York, has died, three months after the stabbing rampage.

Josef Neumann, 72, succumbed to wounds sustained during the December 29 machete assault, a local Jewish group said Sunday.

“We are sad to inform you that Yosef Neumann, who was stabbed during the Hanukkah attack in Monsey late Dec 2019, passed away this evening,” the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council said in a statement posted to Twitter.

Rabbi Yisroel Kahan, who is the community liaison for the Ramapo Police Department that serves Monsey and executive director of Oizrim Jewish Council, shared the news of Neumann’s passing on his Twitter account as well.

“We were hoping when he started to open his eyes,” Rabbi Yisroel Kahan told The Journal News on Sunday night. “We were hoping and praying he would then pull through. This is so very sad he was killed celebrating Hanukkah with friends just because he was a Jew.”

Neumann was the most seriously injured in the attack and doctors had said there was little chance he would ever make a full recovery. He had been in a coma since the attack, according to NBC News.

His death came despite hopes that his condition may improve after he reportedly opened his eyes at the end of February.

Neumann is survived by seven children, multiple grandchildren, a great-grandchild, and his brothers and sisters.

Four other people were injured in the attack, which federal prosecutors say was a hate crime.

Monsey stabbing victim Josef Neumann in a hospital, in a picture released by his family on January 1, 2020. (courtesy)

Prosecutors have charged Grafton Thomas, 37, with five federal counts of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs by attempting to kill with a dangerous weapon. He also has pleaded not guilty to five state counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary.

Neumann’s family said shortly after the attack that the 18-inch machete used in the assault penetrated his skull, and his “right arm has been shattered.”

A graphic photograph released at the same time showed an intubated Neumann with a swollen and disfigured face lying in a hospital bed. A pair of gashes to his head appear to have been stitched up.

Neumann’s family released the photograph for the world and “the Jewish community to understand the gravity of hate,” Yossi Gestetner, the OJPAC’S co-founder, said in an interview at the time.

“These things are vividly and viciously disturbing and have long-term consequences,” Gestetner said.

Ramapo police officers escort Grafton Thomas from Ramapo Town Hall to a police vehicle, December 29, 2019, in Ramapo, New York. (AP Photo/Julius Constantine Motal)

Authorities have said Thomas had handwritten journals containing anti-Semitic references and had used his phone to look up information on Hitler and the location of synagogues.

Thomas’s family has said he was raised in a tolerant home and had a history of mental illness.

The Hanukkah attack came amid a string of violence that had alarmed Jews in the region.

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